Firing Apprentices – Young Jockeys In The Spotlight This Week

Firing Apprentices returns, adding a little fizz to the start of your week. Aren’t you the lucky ones? Before looking at last week’s racing, we would like to send our best wishes to Sammy Jo Bell who is recovering from a bad fall. Everyone is looking forward to seeing her back in the saddle, as soon as possible.

Plenty of apprentices notched on Monday, although none followed-up with further victories as the week progressed. Quite frankly, it’s downright laziness and we blame the parents!

Many won at massive odds though, so we shouldn’t be so curmudgeonly about their exploits. The winners were Firing Apprentices’ heroine Josephine Gordon (Baby Gal, Leicester, 20/1), Rob Hornby (Henryhudsonbridge, Leicester, 33/1), George Downing (Faintly, Leicester, 7/4), Mark Flanagan (Ah Littleluck, Sligo, 2/1), Cian Collins (Isabella Liberty, Sligo, 6/1), Jody McGarvey (Yes Man, Sligo, 33/1), Breen Kane (Belle Helene, Sligo, 25/1) and Andrew Ring whose stunning hold-up ride on Luckey Seven (Sligo) led to the 9-year-old romping home at 66/1!

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Shane Fights His Way To A Brace

shane shortall

Shane Shortall showed what an excellent young jockey he is, grabbing the first of 2 consecutive wins on Tuesday at Hexham. The lead changed hands more often than a grubby old fiver, before Heart O Annandale (7/2) beat Shaiyzar by 11 lengths. This was followed by a cosy victory on Fighting Days (10/1), at Down Royal. Nice!

Tuesday also saw wins for Arnie Waugh (Sharivarry, Hexham, 8/1), Adam Nicol (Sultana Belle, Hexham, 12/1), James Corbett (Stay In My Heart, Hexham, 10/3), Harry Kinder (Magnolia Ridge, Hexham, 10/1) and Page Fuller (Carrigkerry, Southwell, 5/2).

Nutty Noonan’s Quality Quartet

David Noonan went completely nuts, last week, picking up the first of 4 winners on Wednesday! Bernisdale beat 16 other runners to win by a neck at Newton Abbot (4/1).

On Sunday, Noonan dodged the proverbial banana-skin by winning comfortably on red-hot favourite Fountains Windfall (Fontwell, 1/6) and won the next 2 races to complete a consecutive hat-trick! Both Sir Dylan and Chill Factor won at 9/2. It was a case of ‘after Noon’, for other riders at the West-Sussex racecourse (you just don’t get these puns on The Morning Line, no wonder the show will be taken off the air next year!).

Doyles At The Double

There was ‘Doylight’ for backers of Joe and Josh (see what we did there, as well?), with both apprentices winning on Wednesday and following-up.

Joe Doyle’s win at Hamilton (The Wee Barra, 7/1) preceded a made-all victory aboard Geno (Beverley, Evs). Josh won by 2 lengths on San Quentin (Hamilton, 8/1), before triumphing on Lawless Louis (Catterick, 3/1).

Wednesday’s other winners include Adam McNamara (Wotabreeze, Hamilton, 9/2), Clifford Lee (Felix Leiter, Lingfield, 9/2), George Wood (Hint Of Grey, Lingfield, 11/4), Emma Todd (French Seventyfive, Southwell, 6/1), Nathan Moscrop (Grey Monk, Market Rasen, 8/1), Dean Pratt (Odds On Dan, Market Rasen, 8/1), Ned Curtis (Christmas In April, Market Rasen, 5/6), Martin McIntyre (Stand By Me, Newton Abbot, 14/1), Donnacha O’Brien (Monarch, Gowran, 8/11) and Donagh O’Connor (Talented Kid, Gowran, 16/1).


Finny Maguire has the name of a man you would expect to bite your nose off in a back street bare-knuckle fight and the fighting qualities of this excellent apprentice were on display last week. Both of his victories (Thursday, Miss Eyecatcher, Tipperary, 8/1 and Friday, Bosco Di Alco, Down Royal, 3/1) were hard-won and Maguire deserves a huge amount of credit.

So does Jordan Vaughan, the sole claiming apprentice to win at Sandown’s prestigious evening meeting on Thursday. Chevalier (12/1) ran on well, to beat Jalawi by a short-head. Connections celebrated a Class 3 win and the lion’s share of a good purse.

There were more Thursday winners, including Nick Slatter (Vedani, Bangor, 33/1), Shelley Birkett (Firmament, Newcastle, 5/1), Paddy Bradley (Coto, Newcastle, 2/1), Anastasia O’Brien (Arya Tara, Tipperary, 6/4) and Jack Kennedy (Heartbreak City, Tipperary, 4/7).

Nifty Nathan’s At It Again

Nathan Evans

Nathan Evans will have felt Mick Easterby’s palm on his back, following a brace of Musselburgh victories on Friday. Qaffaal (2/1) beat Atreus by a length, after Evans had already landed the spoils on Bowson Fred (9/2). That makes 16 combined wins, this season, already.

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There seems to be a feeling, in some quarters, that Callum Shepherd isn’t getting enough credit, at the moment so we are pleased to report a good win at the same racecourse. Shepherd tracked front-runners, on Dominada (11/2), before getting up in the final furlong and beating Sisyphus by just over a length.

Also winning on Friday were Georgia Cox (Pour La Victoire, Brighton, 9/4), Daniel Muscutt Esteemable, Bath, 11/4), Tom Marquand (Hawk Moth, Brighton, 7/2), Hollie Doyle (Tourtiere, Musselburgh, 9/2), Zac Baker (West End, Worcester, 5/1), Jonathan Moore (Going For Broke, Worcester, 8/11), John Barry (Hard Station, Killarney, 4/1), Ryan Treacy (Fleurys Fort, Down Royal, 11/1) and Gerard Fox (Kylestyle , Down Royal, 7/1).

Garbo Grabs The Glory

On Saturday, apprentices awoke from dreams of Group honours at Haydock, before  looking for breakfast ingredients in near-empty fridges and getting the maps out for towns like Salisbury. The trip to Wiltshire certainly proved worthwhile for Noel Garbutt, who won in handicap company on the Exceed And Excel gelding Garbut (12/1).

Also winning on Saturday were Rachel Richardson (King Of The Celts, Beverley, 9/2), Philip Prince (Mr Cool Cash, Beverley, 4/1), Ryan Day (Tekthelot, Cartmel, 9/4), Callum Bewley (Maggie Blue, Cartmel, 4/1), Danny Brock (Plucky Dip, Cartmel, 13/2), Patrick Cowley (Rose Revived, Ffos Las, 5/2), Michael Murphy (Gunmetal, Salisbury, 7/2) and Edward Greatrex (The Graduate, Salisbury, 11/4).

Gary Was Halpin Himself, On Sunday!

Not all apprentices enjoyed a lie-in, on Sunday and 3 were rewarded with wins. Gary Halpin’s was the one that really caught the eye. His partnership with Johann Bach (10/1) certainly struck the right note and led to a length-and-a-half victory at the expense of Duchess Andorra.

Freddie Mitchell gave an assured display at  Uttoxeter, getting Only For Love (6/4) back into the contest after a bad mistake and winning by 5 lengths. Tom Hamilton enjoyed a comfortable victory on Cave Hunter (2/1), at Kelso – his first win of the season.

No doubt about who is our Firing Apprentice of the week. With 4 wins, the laurels hand around the narrow shoulders of the Noonster. Congratulations, David, on a quartet of great performances.

Make sure you add the blog to your bookmarks, as Firing Apprentices will return next Monday with more tales of teen and twenty-something turf triumph!

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