Mick Fitzgerald's career spanned 15 years and is best known for his long standing job as stable jockey to Lambourn trainer Nicky Henderson. He rode his first two winners in 1988, however Fitzgerald career started very slowly and it was not until 1991 that he began to ride a significant number of winners. However Fitzgerald struck up a partnership with Ray Callow's Duncan Idaho which got his career moving. In these early days Fitzgerald was based in Somerset, and he has confessed to almost giving up and moving to Australia in those early days.
Fitzgerald's big winners included the Grand National, on Rough Quest in 1996, and the Cheltenham Gold Cup on See More Business in 1999. He was leading jockey at the Cheltenham Festival in 1999 and 2000. Later in his career, Fitzgerald came back from injury to win the 2005 Hennessy Gold Cup on Trabolgan at Newbury for Nicky Henderson. The winner was special for all as Fitzgerald had returned from injury inspired by the horse, and as the Newbury racecourse is close to Lambourn the race is extra-special for the Lambourn racing community.
In the 2008 Grand National he was riding L'Ami when he fell at the second fence. He was sent to hospital with spinal injuries. He announced his retirement on 7 August 2008 due to his injury, aged 38. Fitzgerald had initially planned to retire in Spring 2007 on the offer of a sporting hospitality job, but Nicky Henderson had such a successful season that Fitzgerald found it impossible to hang up his boots.
Fitzgerald is a well known character on the Lambourn racing scene, and is a close friend of Champion Jockey AP McCoy.
Fitzgerald wrote an autobiography when he finished riding, called "Better Than Sex: my autobiography". The title comes from Mick's famous quote to Des Lynam live on the BBC after winning the 1996 National – "After that, Des, even sex is an anticlimax!".
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