Who Is Kevin Brogan? Champion Conditional Jockey

Features | 22nd April 2022

Kevin Brogan is following in the footsteps of some of jump racing’s greatest riders. The 21‐year‐old has won the race to be Champion Conditional Jockey.

Following Big Footsteps

21‐year‐old Kevin Brogan has won the race to be champion conditional jockey joining a roll of honour that includes Sir AP McCoy, Richard Johnson and Brian Hughes.

More recently Harry Cobden, Bryony Frost and Jonjo O’Neill Jnr have all won the prestigious title for the top conditional rider that comes to its conclusion on the final day of the jumps season. Few would argue that Kevin doesn’t belong alongside those title winners. 

He has impressed ever since he answered a Facebook advert placed by Cotswolds‐based Jonjo O’Neill when he was looking for a young jockey to join his powerful team. 

Despite being born in the heart of Ireland’s racing country in County Kildare, Kevin had no family background in racing.

Career Highlight : Timing his challenge to perfection on Phoenix Way to win at Ascot in January

Falling In Love With Racing

With the Curragh among several racecourses on his doorstep, the sport was rather inescapable. 

A visit to Punchestown lit the fire of interest in the wide‐eyed schoolboy and his career path was cemented after watching the TV series The Irish Road To Cheltenham. 

The RTE documentary followed jockeys Davy Russell, Nina Carberry, Andrew Lynch, Andrew McNamara and Robbie Power through the season culminating in the Cheltenham Festival.

It was only a few years later Kevin was working alongside Russell. Having landed a place at the Racing Academy on the Curragh, he joined Grand National and Gold Cup‐winning trainer Gordon Elliott. 

He rode his first winner for his boss on Askari at Navan as an 18‐year‐old amateur but his progress in Ireland was only steady. Three more winners followed over the course of the next year or so before his life changed when stumbling across the on‐line advert posted by O’Neill. 

It led to a switch to Britain and he made an instant impression at the famous Jackdaws Castle Stables.


Interesting fact: To earn some pocket money when still at school he would join friends busking in Dublin

The Skills To Pay The Bills

His first winner for his new boss could not have come anywhere better and it showcased the young rider’s skills to perfection. It came at Cheltenham’s October meeting on Tegerek – a horse so tricky it was a triumph for any jockey to get him to the start. 

Top owner JP McManus was clearly taking note. Just two weeks later he gave Kevin the ride on his smart staying hurdler Unowhatimeanharry in a Pertemps Hurdle Series qualifier at Aintree. The pair returned to the winners’ enclosure victorious and the young rider’s star was rising. 

He hasn’t looked back since. 

Kevin ended the season in 2021 with a total of 23 winners. It gave him the springboard to launch a challenge for the conditional riders’ title and things could not have gone much smoother. His judge of pace and ice‐cool temperament were shown off to perfection when he delivered Phoenix Way with precision timing from off the pace to land a valuable Ascot handicap chase in January. 

It was another winner in the McManus’ famous green‐and‐gold colours. After a stuttering start his Kevin’s rise through the ranks has been impressive. 

As he edges closer to losing his conditionals’ 3lbs weight allowance life will become tougher but he has all the ability needed to make it in the ultra‐competitive world of National Hunt racing.