2021/22 Conditional Jockeys' Championship Contenders

Features | 24th November 2021

One of the many joys of horseracing is spotting the stars of the future. Whether it’s following the next great horse, trainer or jockey, it can be most rewarding.

The Conditional Jockeys’ Championship gives racing fans the chance to support some of the best young riding talents.

The list of previous winners reads likes a who’s who of the best National Hunt jockeys. Sir AP McCoy, Richard Johnson, Paddy Brennan and Brian Hughes are all previous winners of the prestigious honour.

More recently, Sam Twiston‐Davies, Harry Cobden and Bryony Frost were all crowned champion conditional.

Here’s a look at the contenders for this year’s title.

Liam Harrison

When you have the backing of the trainer who has notched up more winners than anyone else this season you’re always going to be in with a shout of the conditional riders’ title.

Throw in the fact that you’re extremely tactically aware, strong in the saddle and more experienced than some of your rivals, then it becomes obvious why Liam Harrison is a strong contender to ride more winners than any other claiming jockey this season.

Attached to Fergal O’Brien’s prolific Cotswolds stable, the 19‐year‐old’s strike‐rate of more than 20 per cent is up there with the best of the senior jockeys.

Ian Williams is among those trainers giving the 3lbs claimer outside rides.

Kevin Brogan

Kevin Brogan was an instant hit after arriving in Britain to join Jonjo O’Neill’s Cotswolds stables last season.

He made the switch from Ireland with just four winners to his name but his talents were soon hard to ignore.

The 21‐year‐old impressed with the way he partnered tricky Tegerek to victory at Cheltenham and he was soon in demand from trainers like Harry Fry, Ben Pauling and Toby Lawes.

He’s already matched last season’s total of 23 winners and the 3lbs claimer could easily pick up enough ammunition to make him a strong contender for the conditional jockeys’ crown.

Mitchell Bastyan

When Mitchell Bastyan burst on to the National Hunt scene he looked to have the world at his feet. Big‐race wins on Court Minstrel and On Tour for Evan Williams, his original boss, thrust him into the spotlight.

Weight issues coupled with the pressures of success nearly finished Mitchell’s career before it had barely started. After changing his diet and outlook he is a happier man. And it shows.

The 23‐year‐old has been riding at the top of his game and he looks likely to ride enough winners to lose his 3lbs weight allowance before the end of the season.

His title chances probably hinge on how long his in‐form boss, Wiltshire‐based Milton Harris, can continue to fire in the winners.

Fergus Gregory

After a rather steady start to the season, Fergus Gregory has thrust himself into the conditional jockeys’ title race with a red‐hot November.

Five winners in the space of ten days – all for his boss Olly Murphy – has seen the 22‐year‐old close in on his season’s best tally of 18 winners.

His first success came more than five years ago and his experience will stand him in good stead throughout the season.

With Warwickshire‐based Murphy likely to give Fergus plenty more opportunities, he could easily continue to climb the charts. The backing of such a powerful yard makes the 3lbs claimer a live contender for the title.

Charlotte Jones

Danny McMenamin showed last year that northern‐based riders can claim the Conditional Jockeys’ crown.

Charlotte Jones is looking to follow in those footsteps after a productive summer that saw her ride 12 winners at a strike‐rate of 33 per cent.

The 26‐year‐old struck up a particularly good rapport with four‐time winner Alqamar and Cartmel specialist Dressedforsuccess.

Both those horses are trained by her main backer, Jimmy Moffatt, and Charlotte’s chances depend largely on the continued success of his stable.

The 5lbs claimer is an excellent judge of pace and it will be interesting to see if she can pick up enough outside rides to maintain her position in the title race.

Best of the rest

With experience rising to the top in this season’s race to be top conditional rider, it should, perhaps, be no surprise that several riders without a weight allowance are in contention.

Ben Jones, who won last season’s Lanzarote Hurdle on Boreham Bill, rode out his claim in the summer. The 22‐year‐old has the support of Philip Hobbs and Emma Lavelle but life often gets harder for young jockeys when they no longer have a weight allowance to help.

Luca Morgan still has his 5lbs claim. He has impressed many racing fans over the last couple of seasons and he continues to get plenty of opportunities for his boss Ben Pauling.

Theo Gillard, attached to in‐form Donald McCain’s Cheshire stables, is another with the potential to poke his nose into the conditionals’ title race.

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