Former jumps jockey Paddy Flood highlights two Flat jockeys and a Jumps prospect jockey that punters should keep in mind in the months to come.
With not much jumps racing going on at the moment, let’s take a look at some up and coming riders both over jumps and on the Flat, that I think are well worth keeping an eye on.
Ewing could go right to the top
First up is Sam Ewing. I’ve known Sam for a few years now after following his career on the pony racing circuit. Himself and Dylan Brown McMonagle have battled out the championship in the pony racing ranks for the past few years. I do think we could see the same thing happen in the professional ranks in the years to come.
Sam’s father - Warren Ewing - is a fine jump rider himself and he has been travelling the length and breath of Ireland with this young man, priming him for a career as a top professional jockey. So far, this hard work has paid off.
He rode his first winner on 8 August on a smart sprinting horse called Ardhoomey for Ger Lyons, who he is signed on to as an apprentice. That was only his fourth ride under rules. A well-mannered and likeable chap, with a bit of luck he really could go all the way to the top. Sam Ewing and Dylan Brown McMonagle are very much two riders to keep your eye on in the months and seasons to come.
Pony racing a pillar of talent development
The pony racing scene in Ireland has thrown up so much talent over the years in Ireland. These guys know what it feels like to win, to judge pace, how to drop horses out and arrive late. I rode a lot of pony winners myself but I was a little bit loose and stick happy, it took me a while to adjust to the pro ranks. The kids doing it nowadays are polished and really wouldn’t look out of place at any of the top tracks.
O'Keefe has right grounding to shine
Another guy I’d like to touch on is jumping prospect, Darragh O’Keeffe. Another pony racing graduate, he is flying at the moment and I think he can continue to improve. He is riding for the right guys in J.P McManus and Enda Bolger to not get carried away with his success. He’s a humble guy, hardworking and very dedicated to his career.
Darragh seems to give every horse he rides the best chance of winning the race and, if you’re a punter, what more could you ask for? He looks to be in the right place in his races and I’m sure the experience he is gaining now will stand to him, when he starts riding in better quality races in the future.