Jockey Of The Month: Champions Nominated For April Prize

Features | 3rd May 2022

The three riders finished the Jumps season at the very top. Two won their respective championships whilst the other lived out a fairy tale in his final moments in the saddle. Vote for your April Jockey of the Month.

The three jockeys nominated for April Jockey of the Month 2022 are Brian Hughes, Sam Waley-Cohen and Kevin Brogan. 

Full-time professionals Brian and Kevin won the Champion Jockey and Conditional titles whilst Sam landed the sport’s biggest prize – the Randox Grand National. Find out more about each jockeys’ month below.

Jockey Brian Hughes won the April Jockey Of The Month vote with a share of 55%. Congratulations Brian! 

Brian Hughes

Brian Hughes has elevated his performance levels once again this year as he secured the Jump Jockeys’ Championship for the second time.

His first title came in the COVID interrupted 2019/20 season which meant Brian was unable to celebrate the win in front of a crowd, however that was not the case this time though.

The North Yorkshire-based jockey was crowned in front of a packed-out Sandown Park following a week in which he had become the fourth man in history to surpass the 200-winner mark in a season. An esteemed club occupied by just three other racing greats in Peter Scudamore, Sir AP McCoy and Richard Johnson. 

He reflected on his title winning season saying: “Last year I felt I’d failed as I led all year and got beat by Harry (Skelton). It’s no different to a football team getting beaten in the FA Cup final, I was gutted.

“I got my head down and didn’t want it to happen again, so I worked as hard as I could to make sure it didn’t happen again.

“I think this year means more than the first as the last one ended early because of Covid and there were a lot more things going on in the world. Having lost the championship last year, to win it back, by a considerable margin and with 200 winners, it will mean the most.

Sam Waley-Cohen

Sport very rarely follows a script, and few get to go out at the very top of their game. However, it seemed it all fell into place for amateur jockey Sam Waley-Cohen who in his last competitive ride, took the spoils in the world’s most famous race.

Paired with 50/1 shot Noble Yeats, the duo looked unlikely heroes. However, as the great race has shown time and time again, its unpredictability is what makes the Grand National such a special race.

And in typical fashion, it was to be Noble Yeats and Waley-Cohen who proved the best of the bunch, repelling the challenge of favourite Any Second Now to win the race. 

Following the contest, Waley-Cohen said “It’s a dream. It won’t sink in for weeks – it feels like a fantasy, and I just don’t know what to say.”

Following the race, jockey’s past and present hailed Sam Waley-Cohen a truly outstanding amateur rider after he added the world’s most famous race to a career haul that already featured the Cheltenham Gold Cup and two King George VI Chases. 

Legendary rider Barry Geraghty, a Grand National winner himself who retired in 2020, said: “He’s a brilliant rider. He was a true amateur but he was no amateur as an opponent. He’s a brilliant horseman and he’s shown it every time he’s gone out”

Kevin Brogan

The youngest of the bunch but a jockey with an exciting career ahead of him. The 21-year-old Irishman has had his most successful year to date securing 47 victories which proved enough to land him the Champion Conditional Jockeys’ title.

Those 47 winners proved a comfortable buffer as he ended up more than 10 winners clear of his nearest rival Theo Gillard.

On taking the title, he said: “It’s fantastic to be crowned champion conditional and I just have to pinch myself a little bit. I’m only a young lad from ‘Kili’ and to be in this position – these things don’t really happen to people like me.

“I’ve been very lucky to have ridden for a lot of great trainers and owners and throw my leg across some good horses along the way who have stuck their head out for me. I can’t thank everybody for their support and I wouldn’t be here without them.”