(From an Irish Field interview published in May 2021).
Mick Fitzgerald is a retired National Hunt Jockey from Wexford in the southeast of Ireland. Mick has ridden fourteen Cheltenham Festival winners. His biggest days in the saddle came on Rough Quest in the 1996 Grand National and The Cheltenham Gold Cup on See More Business in 1999. Mick sadly had to retire in 2008 due to a serious neck injury after falling off L’Ami in the 2008 Grand National. Fitzgerald is currently a pundit and presenter with ITV Racing and Sky Sports Racing.
When asking Fitzgerald about the favourite horses that he has ridden he said: “The ones that struck a real cord with me was when I won the First National Bank Gold Cup on a horse called Raymylette who was owned by Andrew Lloyd Webber. The horse had a very special place for me and I won the Cathcart chase on him at the Cheltenham Festival which was my first Cheltenham Festival winner. That was a day that I will never forget and it was a big milestone because any Irishman who has been to Cheltenham or watched it on the television that is where it is at”. A Jump jockey has not fully arrrived on the scene unless he has won at Cheltenham.
Fitzgeralds other favourite horse that he has ridden was Fondmort for his trainer Nicky Henderson who won a December Gold Cup at Cheltenham in 2002. Then he followed up to win the Paddy Power Gold Cup and Ryanair Chase in 2003 and 2006 respectively at the same venue. Fitzgerald said: “I loved that horse he was like when you were setting your watch and you would look up at the clock and always right well he was the clock that was always right. He was very reliable and was very good on the big occasion he loved Cheltenham and he was a pleasure to ride. I rode him in the Grand National and he did not stay but I had one of the most enjoyable rides I ever had around there on him”.
Mick rode 1310 winners in total over obstacles throughout his career which is a very impressive achievement.