Mick Fitzgerald – Cheltenham Festival Legend
Since racing his first winner, Lover’s Secret, at Ludlow in December 1988 at the age of 18, Mick Fitzgerald has slowly but surely built a reputation as one of the finest jockeys in National Hunt racing.
Mick Fitzgerald started his racing career on the pony racing circuit in Ireland, graduating to horse racing at the age of 16 when he joined Wexford trainer Richard Lister’s stable. After finishing school Fitzgerald crossed the Irish Sea and worked in the stables of National Hunt trainer Richard Tucker who provided the young jockey with his first winner.
Climbing the peaks of the racing world was a slow process for Mick Fitzgerald, and it was only in the 1991/1992 National Hunt season that he formed the strong partnership with a trainer that is so important for success in horse racing. Fitzgerald paired up with Nick Henderson in 1991, but despite winning numerous wins on the National Hunt racing circuit it would be another five years before he landed his first major title.
In 1996 Mick Fitzgerald, Cheltenham Festival legend, joined forces with trainer Terry Casey and entered the Grand National on race favourite Rough Quest. Rough Quest did his reputation of race favourite proud, winning Mick Fitzgerald one of the most coveted prizes in horse racing.
Once Mick Fitzgerald had a Grand National win under his belt, his career gathered momentum. At the 1999 Cheltenham Festival Fitzgerald picked up four wins, including the ultimate prize – the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
His excellent display of jump riding earned him his first Cheltenham Festival Top Jockey title. Later in the year Mick Fitzgerald won another of the greatest prizes in horse racing, winning the 1999 King George VI Chase on See More Business.
Not content with a single Cheltenham Festival Top Jockey title, Mick Fitzgerald won another four races at the 2000 Cheltenham Festival winning his second consecutive title. Although Fitzgerald did not ride the winner in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, he did pick up a win in the prestigious Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase.
Apart from his steady maturation into one of the most formidable riders in National Hunt racing, Mick Fitzgerald, Cheltenham Festival legend, is also known as one of the personalities of the National Hunt riding circuit and is a regular guest in television studios which appreciate his value as a keen-witted racing pundit.