Geraghty's award-winning ride lets Nesbitt take a Festival bow
Jimmy Nesbitt watched in near disbelief as the scene-stealing Barry Geraghty delivered a superb performance to bring home the actor's Riverside Theatre in the Ryanair Chase yesterday.
It was good enough, he suggested, to forgo an Oscar in exchange for the sight of Geraghty guiding his horse home ahead of last year's winner Albertas Run.
Repeatedly, Riverside Theatre seemed to surrender the possibilities created by his recent fine win at Ascot – but then each time the Irish rider who seems certain to clinch the Cheltenham winners' title nursed him back into the race.
"It was extraordinary," said Nesbitt. "I can't really talk, to be honest. I'm someone who normally cries at Little House on the Prairie. Certainly, if anyone around here deserves an Oscar it's Barry. He did an extraordinary job bringing him back. It's pasted into the album of my memory, I can tell you."
Trainer Nicky Henderson, who, like Geraghty, is dominating the Festival, shared the owner's doubts as their contender came to the last with a faltering stride. "I was watching with Jimmy," said the trainer, "and we were all doom and gloom. It means that you can't say enough about the ride Barry's given him. The horse might be good-looking but he's very, very tough and will dig really deep."
Geraghty was as stunned as his admirers when he crossed the finishing line. "All the way round I thought I had no chance, he was never travelling well enough to hold his position," he said. "I threw him at the third last but I still thought I had no chance. It was the same at the second last and the last, but you never give up trying here – and nor did he.
"He's a gorgeous, handsome horse but today he's showed he's not just a pretty boy."
Nesbitt, no doubt, will be looking forward to an encore.
Latest in Sport
Jay Hart sex tape: Non-league footballer sacked after being filmed having sex with unknown blonde girl in manager's dug-out
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: What time does it start and where can I watch it?
Radamel Falcao to Liverpool: Agent of Manchester United striker 'makes contact' with Anfield
Cesc Fabregas in Premier League title dig at Arsenal after pointing out '27 year wait'
Manchester United 2015/16 kit leak: Orange and black strip likened to former Chelsea jersey emerges online
- 1 Rarest Beanie Baby bought for just £10 at car boot sale could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 5 Cancel Sky at your peril: man spends 96 minutes in chat but fails to get rid of service
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Office Administrator is requ...
£12000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion and growth of ...
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer position with a...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Operations Leader is required to join a lea...