Brennan rides 1,500th winner as Teorie scores at Catterick

Paddy Brennan reached another major milestone in his hugely successful riding career as a Tuesday double at Catterick saw him pass the 1,500-winner mark.

It is fast approaching 20 years since the County Galway native was crowned Britain’s champion conditional and he has since gone on to establish himself as one of the sport’s leading jockeys.

Winning an epic Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2010 aboard Imperial Commander is the obvious highlight on a long list of big-race triumphs which also includes the 2007 World Hurdle on the hugely popular Inglis Drever and the 2015 King George VI Chase on Cue Card.

By his own admission success on the biggest stage has proved harder to come by in the latter part of his career, but he has not given up hope of again showcasing his talents at the highest level before hanging up his saddle.

He said: “It’s something I’m really proud of and I do understand the magnitude of it. It’s been hard, it’s still hard, every day is hard, but I’m so proud of my family and the people that have supported me along the way. It’s been an incredible journey.

Image: Brennan celebrates winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Imperial Commander in 2010

“I used to live near here when I worked for Mr (Graham) Wylie and I love coming up here. It’s a great track with lovely ground and the motivation is definitely still there.

“It’s been a dream – it’s been like a holiday destination that’s lasted for so long. Hopefully I haven’t booked a flight home yet, but maybe it’s not too far away.”

It was only right that Brennan reached the landmark figure aboard a horse trained by his current boss Fergal O’Brien, with Teorie winner number 1,500 in the Hillcrest Who Cares Wins Juvenile Hurdle.

Cue Card ridden by Paddy Brennan after clearing the final fence to win the Betfair Steeple Chase during Betfair Chase day at Haydock Racecourse.
Image: Brennan has enjoyed some of his career highs on board Cue Card

The veteran rider subsequently admitted that without O’Brien’s support in recent years, he may have already called it a day.

He added: “I’ve no doubt that without Fergal’s yard I would not be here today having ridden 1,500 winners. He extended my career and we work well together.

“It’s not easy, but I’m so driven to get the good days back – Gold Cups, Champion Hurdles, Stayers’ Hurdles. I’m running out of time, but that’s what gets me up every day – I love good horses.

“You really learn to limit expectation in this game as you know the opposition and know what can come forward. I just think you get up out of bed every day and if your horse is sound you’ve got a chance.

“There’s been so many good horses. I’m not Ruby Walsh, but I’ve been very lucky.”

Dysart Enos ridden by Paddy Brennan jumps the last before winning the British EBF "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle during day one of the The Christmas Meeting at Cheltenham
Image: Brennan rode the promising Dysart Enos to victory for Fergal O’Brien at Cheltenham last Friday

Having won on the Flat in Ireland for Jim Bolger, Teorie was the 4/6 favourite for his hurdling debut – and while Brennan had to chivvy his mount along at various stages, he ultimately drew 15 lengths clear to win comfortably.

O’Brien, claiming his second of three winners on the card after Blue Bikini (8/1) had earlier landed the opening amateur jockeys’ race under his daughter Fern, said of Teorie’s performance: “That’s what we were hoping for, he’s been working well at home and from day one his jumping has been very good.

“He’s a lovely horse who loves training and jumping, which is half the battle. Paddy said a lot went wrong today, but he did it well in the end.”

The Gloucestershire-based trainer was also keen to pay tribute to his stable jockey, adding: “We wouldn’t be doing as well as we are without Paddy. He’s been huge for my career and I’ve probably prolonged his career a little bit as well.

“We’ve got a great team of jockeys, he’s the top of them and he’s the bar they have to reach.”

O’Brien and Brennan combined to round off an excellent afternoon’s work in the mares’ handicap hurdle, with 11/2 shot Mistral Nell getting the better of a nip-and-tuck tussle with Crimson Ruby by a head.

Source : Sky Sports