Danny – Champion of the jockeys title?

 In Greystoke Galloper

We’ve had a quiet week with just the one runner yesterday, but there are plenty of entries over the next week. We started slightly earlier this week so we were finished in time to settle down for the afternoons of racing from Cheltenham. Despite not having any runners there, we are looking forward to the next big festival, Aintree, in April, in which Takingrisks still holds an entry in the Grand National.

The 20/21 jumps season ends on 24th April at Doncaster. This is when the title races come to an end and the champions are crowned. We are incredibly lucky to have both Brian Hughes and Daniel McMenamin riding regularly for us, and both are currently leading the Jump Jockeys Championship and Conditional Jockeys Championship respectively.

Danny has ridden 4 winners this week, including a double at Hexham yesterday. He is now 10 winners clear of his nearest rival in the standings.

Conditional Jockeys Championship

Danny moved to the UK in August 2017 at the age of 17, leaving his home town of Downpatrick (that he describes as a small but mighty town in Northern Ireland). Now 20, he’s ridden 37 winners so far this season, and a 82 winners altogether.

We asked our social media followers if they had any questions for Danny, here is what we found out:

1. The horse who taught you the most? 

It actually was a pony I had called Mr Marshall which I won about 9 or 10 pony races on, he knew more about the job than I did and certainly taught me a few things.

Mr Marshall and Danny

2. Who are your idols at Nicky’s yard?

My idols in the yard, well I’d have to say my mate Ryan Day, how could he possibly not be my idol?! Also Nicky himself, just the way he loves and cares for every one of his horses.

Danny & Ryan

3. What is your favourite part of the job? 

Favourite part would be riding the young horses at the start of the season, watching and helping them develop into hopefully a very good racehorse.

4. Why did Marvellous Joe not win? (Sent from Uncle Joe) 

Sorry Uncle Joe not sure why Marvellous Joe didn’t win maybe he doesn’t like being called Joe?!

5. Favourite horse to ride out in the yard?

Favourite horse to ride out would be Mayo Star, he’s not the most straight forward, a bit  keen but we get on well.

6. Favourite win so far?

My favourite win would be Nuts Well in the Monets Garden Old Roan Chase. He’s a dude of a horse and has given me one of the best days in my racing career so far. Plus he’s one of the easiest to ride (laughing).

Danny & Nuts Well

Danny & Nuts Well

7. Favourite horse at the yard?

My favourite horse in the yard hmmm I’ve got a few … any of them which I get to win on they’re always the favourites (laughing)

8. How old were you when you first rode a horse?

I’m not quite sure what age I was when I first sat on a horse, probably about 10 or 11. My family didn’t have much to do with horses so when I caught the bug for horses it was new to all of us.

9. If you could ride any 3 horses currently in training, who would they be and why?
Tiger Roll because he’s a two time Grand National winner.

Envoi Allen because despite falling at Cheltenham, I personally still think he’s the best jump horse in the country.

Honeysuckle because she’s such a tough mare and has heaps of ability.

10. And finally, any advice for anyone wanting to be a jockey?

Main advice would be to work hard, dedication and surround yourself with good people.

Thank you Danny for taking the time to answer everyone’s questions, and best of luck for the rest of the season!

Tomorrow we have 6 runners at Newcastle:

2.00 Legal Beagle – He has been a little disappointing. He is working nicely at home and we have been waiting for some better ground. Ryan Day rides.

2.35 Skiddaw Valleys – He really enjoys good ground so hopefully it will have dried out enough for him to give his best running. Brian Hughes rides.

3.10 No Regrets – He also should be suited to the drier ground. He was in really good form since last summer and hopefully he can have a good spring/summer campaign. Brian Hughes rides.

No Regrets

3.45 Blakerigg – This will be his first run for over a year. He is a past winner at the track and the ground should suit. Brian Hughes rides.

Nicky & Blakerigg

4.20 Big Bad Bear – He won at Doncaster in November. He didn’t get in a rhythm with his jumping in the Lanzarote hurdle last time at Kempton. If the ground has dried out nicely it should suit him well. Serious Ego won nicely at Haydock in January. He is in good form but he wouldn’t want the ground to have dried out too much for him.

On Sunday it’s just a short trip up the road to Carlisle, where we have 2 runners.

2.20 Bettergetalong – He has been out of form of late and so he changes to fences to see if it can rekindle some enthusiasm.

3.25 – My Old Gold – She’s a tough mare, she ran well at Uttoxeter last time out finishing second. She likes the track, her last win being a listed chase there.

My Old Gold & Sauce Of Life

We also hope to have a few runners at Kelso on Monday:

Skiddaw Tara – He showed some promise on his first run of the season over fences but he was very disappointing last time and a run back over hurdles may boost his confidence again.

Petite Ganache – He won over fences in January but failed to get involved last time. The more the ground dries, the more it should suit.

Marown – He has ran some really good races in some good company this season. He has gained some good experience along the way and he looks as though a step up in trip should be right up his street. He also holds an entry at Wetherby on Tuesday and Haydock on Wednesday.

Guitar Pete – He was travelling strongly when falling late on at Kempton in January but he was disappointing last time out. He’s been a great servant and hopefully he can come back to form again.

On Wednesday at Haydock we have several entries. Headscarf Lil got her head in front at Musselburgh in November on her first run over hurdles. She’s a nice mare and will be in favour of drying ground. Glenduff ran a really sound race when finishing third at Doncaster last time out and hopefully he can step up once again from that experience. Kajaki has had a little break since a couple of disappointing runs last autumn and hopefully the break will have freshened him up so that he can return to his best form. He also has an entry at Market Rasen on the same day. Sauce Of Life won on his debut in December at Musselburgh in fine style. He’s a lovely type and we haven’t wanted to rush him since Musselburgh and have waited for some better ground.

Sauce Of Life

We hope you’re all enjoying some better and warmer weather again, the road through the village is now blooming with daffodils. Temperatures managed to hit 17° earlier this week! It definitely lifts everyone’s spirits and we are now starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel. As ever, keep safe and we look forward to seeing some familiar faces again soon.

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