Eager Egan wants to hit ground running at Goodwood

Darren Egan guides Landaman to victory at Glorious last year  Picture by Malcolm Wells
Darren Egan guides Landaman to victory at Glorious last year Picture by Malcolm Wells

Goodwood stages its first fixture of the new flat season on Saturday - and jockey Darren Egan is keen to hit the ground running again.

Darren Egan, 21, established himself as one of the best apprentice riders last season with 47 winners and was also one of the leading pilots at Goodwood with six successes from just 20 rides - a strike rate of 30 per cent - including two at Glorious Goodwood.

Egan won Goodwood’s first race last year - a 14/1 victory on Mrs Brown’s Boy in the Betfred Goals Galore EBF Maiden Stakes - and notched a double on the opening day.

His first winner at Goodwood’s main meeting came courtesy of the Mark Johnston-trained Landaman in the competitive bet365.com Handicap on the opening day of Glorious.

Read Adam Waterworth’s Diary from the Downs and Steve Bone’s tips for theGoodwood season opener on this website on Friday

A fall at Wolverhampton in October left Egan with a broken collarbone and put paid to his chances of winning the apprentice title, but he has picked up where he left off this season, annexing the valuable Lincoln Handicap aboard Levitate by a short-head at Doncaster. The Irishman is apprenticed to trainer Ron Harris, who is based near Chepstow in Wales.

Egan said: “It was an unbelievable day when I won my first race at Glorious Goodwood on Landaman. It was for Mr Johnston as well which was also a big help.

“The raw talent on show with the horses and jockeys makes it one of the best meetings and the atmosphere on top of that is unbelievable. I rode another winner as well later in the week, so that was brilliant.

“You need a lot of luck in running, especially over the longer trips, because if you don’t get that you are simply not going to win.

“Goodwood is very difficult to ride compared to other courses because you are constantly switching and changing. You need a horse that can carry you into the race and they have to handle the track as well.

“I enjoy the challenge of riding around there and I would say it is my favourite track for obvious reasons. I like the big handicaps at Glorious Goodwood because it is very competitive and just a thrill to get a ride.

“It was good last year because I was claiming five when Glorious Goodwood was on and I had proved earlier in the year that I could ride there so I picked up some nice rides. Hopefully, I can pick up some more rides this year while I’m still claiming three.

“I was very surprised how well things went last year. The intention was just to ride a few winners, get my name out there and lay a foundation. The support I got from trainers was tremendous but, because I was off so long after I broke my collarbone, it has taken a while to pick up this year. It’s starting to get going again now so it’s all good.

“Ideally, I would like to have another go at the apprentice title but we will just have to see.”

Saturday’s seven-race card is headlined by £40,000 Listed Betfred The Bonus King EBF Daisy Warwick Stakes (2.20pm) over a mile and a half and the £40,000 Listed Betfred Mobile Casino British Stallion Studs EBF Conqueror Stakes (4.05pm) over a mile, both restricted to fillies and mares.