Greystoke-based jockey Danny McMenamin will be crowned champion conditional jockey at Sandown tomorrow.
Danny, aged 20, who has ridden 46 winners in 2020-21, said: “It hasn’t quite sunk in yet – it has been a brilliant season.”
When the National Hunt season began on July 1 last year, Danny said that aiming the conditional title was “sort of in mind”, but he knew it wasn’t going to be easy.
Other jockeys who have won the conditional title over the years include Jonjo O’Neill junior, Bryony Frost, Harry Cobden, Sam Twiston-Davies, Paddy Brennan, Joe Tizzard, AP McCoy, Richard Johnson and Tony Dobbin.
He said: “It’s a bit surreal to be mentioned in a list of names like that.
“Hopefully tomorrow it will sink in, I’ll be able to take it all in and be able to enjoy the experience.”
A conditional jockey is an apprentice National Hunt racing jockey in Great Britain or Ireland, under the age of 26, who has not won more than 75 races.
Danny, who hails from Downpatrick, Northern Ireland, recorded his 75th career victory at Market Rasen in February which means he won’t be able to “claim” a weight allowance in National Hunt races when the new season returns in July, as he will no longer be a conditional jockey.
Tomorrow, he rides Nuts Well for trainer Ann Hamilton in the 3.05pm Celebration Chase and will be taking on the mighty Altior – a former winner of the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham – and current Champion Chase crown holder Put The Kettle On.
“Hopefully he can run a good race on Saturday. He is up against it, but hopefully he can run a nice race and I am sure he won’t disappoint anyone,” said Danny.
He added: “He is a little dude – he’s very straightforward to ride. He has been climbing the ladder over the last couple of seasons, quietly away, and I think sometimes people slightly underestimate him, but it’s no shock to me when he goes and runs a race up against the big lads.”