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Moscow Flyer & Barry Geraghty

Irish Champion Hurdler

Mounted picture of Moscow Flyer, trained by Jessica Harrington. Moscow Flyer was one of the most popular Irish rachorses in recent years and in a career marked for its longevity won a host of races.

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Moscow Flyer & Barry Geraghty

From an original portrait by Stephen Smith

Superb colour portrait reproduction of Moscow Flyer who enjoyed an outstanding career in National Hunt racing

See biography below

Dimensions

300mm x 255mm or 12 inches x 10 inches

Mounting

Precision cut double mount

Framing

Also available in attractive mahogany style frame

Moscow Flyer

Moscow Flyer was a top-class National Hunt horse over distances between 2 miles and 2 1/2 miles. He won the Queen Mother Champion Chase in 2003 and 2005, the Tingle Creek Trophy in 2003 and 2004 and the Arkle Challenge Trophy in 2002. He was trained by Jessica Harrington and Barry Geraghty was his jockey during almost all his successes.

Moscow Flyer never won a Bumper. He came third in two of his 4 bumpers, but never was first past the post. He was quickly changed to hurdling, after the usual one season of bumperadge.

He started off as a close to top-class hurdler. He won the 2000 December Festival Hurdle claiming the notable scalp of Istabraq who fell at the last when in contention. Moscow Flyer himself went on to fall two out in that season's Grade 1 AIG Europe Champion Hurdle when in contention although Istabraq was still in control, But only just. The effect of Foot and Mouth ruined his chance at the Champion Hurdle with the Cheltenham Festival abandoned.

Moscow Flyer returned in the 2001/2002 season as a novice chaser. His record coming into the Arkle Challenge Trophy was mixed. He'd won 3 races but also fallen twice. Consequently, Seebald went off as favourite. However, Moscow Flyer won easily by 4 lengths. That year's Champion Hurdle was won with a Racing Post Rating four below Moscow Flyer's highest rating of 170 achieved the previous April at Punchestown. Admitidly, that Champion Hurdle lost the first and second favourites in unfortunate and tragic circumstances respectively.

He returned to the Festival for the 2003 Queen Mother Champion Chase. He'd won four races out of five that season. His only defeat had been an unlucky one. Reigning champion Flagship Uberalles made a very bad mistake at one fence in the Tingle Creek Trophy at Sandown. Moscow Flyer was behind him and was unable to avoid running into the back of him and unshipping Barry Geraghty. He started as a short-priced 7/4 favourite for the Champion Chase and won very impressively by 7 lengths.

Moscow Flyer won his first three races of the season and again was the favourite for the Queen Mother Champion Chase. He started at 5/6F while his main rival Azertyuiop was the 15/8 second favourite. His rival had won the previous season's Arkle Challenge Trophy and the race was seen as a match between the two despite the presence of Flagship Uberalles and Tiutchev. However, Moscow Flyer made a horrible mistake four out and gave Geraghty no chance of staying on him. Azertyuiop went on to an easy victory.

Moscow Flyer returned the next year to try to be the first horse in many years to regain the Queen Mother Champion Chase. He retained his Tingle Creek Trophy crown and broke his odd record of falling every four races. His form had gone 111F111U111U111U111. This showed his class and his tendency to make mistakes. Reopposing him were Azertyuiop at 2/1 and a new challenger in the previous year's Arkle Challenge Trophy winner Well Chief at 7/2. Strong betting support on the day made Moscow Flyer the 6/4 favourite. The confrontation between the three horses was one that racing fans had looked forward to for months. Azertyuiop made an uncharacteristic mistake at the water jump and although he came third he was not in contention for the last half of the race. Moscow Flyer went on to hold off the determined challenge of Well Chief to the cheers of his fans. His subsequent win at Aintree was his seventh in a row. Moscow Flyer lost by a short-head at Punchestown to Rathgar Beau on 26/04/05.Many thought that there would be a dead heat but the stewards awarded the race to Rathgar Beau. This horse was the first to beat Moscow Flyer when he didn't fall since Colonel Yeagar on 18/04/01. That had been four years and 25 races ago!

Moscow Flyer was aimed to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase for a third time. However, it appeared that age may be catching up with him. He was already older than most top-class 2 milers are at the peak of their form. He suffered another defeat to Central House at Navan and then to Hi Cloy at Leopardstown. Moscow Flyer ran in the Champion Chase without a win that year and the vibes leading up to the race were terrible. He went off at 5/1 but the spark was no longer there and he finished a well beaten fifth. He was retired immediately after the race.