PATIENCE is paying off for jump jockey Sean Quinlan after completing a week to remember with a high-profile double at Haydock.
He started riding out for Bingley trainer Sue Smith, and her husband Harvey, at the end of last year following the retirement of 2013 Grand National-winning rider Ryan Mania.
The County Tipperary-born rider had to bide his time for opportunities. When they did come, too many horses were finishing in the minor places rather than the winner’s enclosure for Quinlan’s liking.
This changed at Hexham on May 2 when he made all on Pinerolo to record his first win for the Smith stable, and this was followed by Fill The Power’s success at Carlisle on Thursday.
However, there is every reason that Quinlan’s first and last race successes at Haydock, aboard No Planning and Glen Countess respectively, could be a turning point in the career of a jockey who has always ridden under the radar in his career and who is now looking to establish himself in the North.
His winning ride on No Planning in the long distance hurdle was particularly meritorious; he judged the pace to perfection from the front while keeping enough in hand to deny race favourite Alternatif on the long run-in. That it was shown live on Channel Four can only have helped the rider’s profile.
“The horse was brilliant,” Quinlan told The Yorkshire Post. “It caps a good week for myself – and the stable.
“I was a bit down with myself when the horses were finishing third and fourth. I kept asking what I was doing wrong, but Sue said I was riding well. That gave me a lot of confidence, and the other lads in the weighing room were supportive.
“There are a lot of nice horses in the yard, like Wakanda and Straidnahanna, and it is a good opportunity.
“I’m also fortunate that I can learn off someone as respected as Mr Smith – he was as big a name as AP McCoy when he was competing at the top in showjumping and he just wants riders do well and work hard.”
Former England footballer Michael Owen’s globetrotting star stayer Brown Panther heads 10 confirmations for the Betway Yorkshire Cup on Knavesmire on Friday.
The admirable seven-year-old, trained by Tom Dascombe and winner of the Dubai Gold Cup in March, is set to take in this Group Two contest ahead of a crack at the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in which he was fourth past the post last June.
Clever Cookie may make a quick reappearance seven days after winning the Ormonde Stakes at Chester for Yorkshire trainer Peter Niven.
John Gosden’s Romsdal and the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Snow Sky, second and third behind Kingston Hill in the Ladbrokes St Leger, are interesting acceptors.
The Grey Gatsby, the reigning Yorkshire horse of the year following a hat-trick of big race victories in last year’s Betfred Dante Stakes, French Derby and Irish Champion Stakes, will reappear in Ireland on May 24.
Owner Frank Gillespie told The Yorkshire Post that his colt, trained at Hambleton by Kevin Ryan, is on track for the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh following his second-place finish in the Dubai Turf.
However, Middleham trainer Mark Johnston has ruled Muraaqaba out of the Irish 1,000 Guineas on the same Curragh card. Last season’s Sweet Solera Stakes winner failed to fire on her seasonal bow at Newmarket. “She has not been herself and is just not sparkling,” said the trainer.