David Egan – Under Starters Orders

Features | 29th June 2021

David Egan was born to be a jockey. His dad John has been a successful Flat rider for more than 30 years and his mum Sandra is from one of Ireland’s great racing families. 

Name: David Egan

Born: 19 June 1999

Career highlight: Winning the Saudi Cup, the world’s most valuable race, on Mishriff in February.

Interesting fact: On the day David was born his dad John rode a winner at Ascot racecourse

Quite simply, horseracing is in David Egan’s blood.  David’s grandfather, Dessie Hughes, rode Davy Lad to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1977, before winning the Champion Hurdle two years later. He would go on to become one of Ireland’s premier jumps trainers.

Throw in David’s uncle Richard Hughes, the former three-time British Flat Champion Jockey and it was clear David was always going to be a rider.

He started riding out for his grandfather as a schoolboy but owing to David’s small frame a career on the Flat was always likely.

On Dessie’s advice he started riding work for Willie McCreery before starting to hone his talents on the competitive Irish pony racing circuit.

A move to Newmarket, the home of Flat racing, followed as soon as he had finished his school exams and he has not looked back.

One of David’s instructors at the British Racing School was Aideen Marshall. Her husband Michael was assistant to trainer Roger Varian and so started an association that was to prove successful for both jockey and trainer.

His first winner came on Etienne Gerard, trained by Nigel Tinkler, at Windsor in the summer of 2016.

The following season his 53 winners saw him edge out Kieran Shoemark in a titanic battle to be crowned Champion Apprentice.

David’s first ride as a fully‐fledged professional was a win for Varian in the Group 2 Lily Langtry Stakes at the prestigious Qatar Goodwood Festival.

In the famous red, white blue silks of the Cheveley Park Stud, David gave the three‐year‐old filly a beautiful ride to win by a short-head.

His first Classic ride came the following season when he partnered Qabala into third behind Hermosa in the 1000 Guineas. Dad John was unplaced on Garrel Glen in the same race and the Egans remain one of the few father‐and‐sons to compete against each other in top‐level sport.

Now 22‐years‐old with more than 300 winners to his name, David is firmly in racing’s premier league. His association with Prince Faisal has seen to that. 

He is retained by the powerful owner and David enjoyed a sensational success in his familiar maroon and grey colours when Mishriff won the £14million Saudi Cup.

He timed his challenge to perfection to run down American star Charlatan and legendary jockey Mike Smith in the closing stages of the 1m1f dirt prize.

The pair added another big‐race success when landing the Group 1 Longines Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan the following month.

It was just reward for David. Covid restrictions had cruelly prevented him from riding Mishriff when he won last year’s French Derby (Prix du Jockey Club) and he was suspended when John Gosden’s star followed up in a Deauville Group 2.

Mishriff could make his first British appearance of the year in the Coral‐Eclipse at Sandown and he is also entered in Ascot’s King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes and the Juddmonte International Stakes at York. The Arc de Triomphe, France’s great end of season contest, is also an option.

That would cap a wonderful year for David. With an ice‐cool temperament and a superb race‐riding brain, the 22‐year‐old is sure to be in demand in all the top races for many years to come.