With 2018 drawing to a close, your attention may have turned away from the racing circuit and instead towards your turkey dinner, presents, or the prospect of a thrilling afternoon with the family watching inane Christmas television.
But while you’re enjoying the festivities and letting your waistline bulge, spare a thought for the number of young jockeys who have be careful not to pile the pounds on during the winter break!
The 2019 season will soon be upon us. Here, we preview the up-and-coming young jockeys to look out for in the New Year:
18-year-old Jason Watson from Brighton stormed his way to the title of Champion Apprentice in 2018, racking up a total of 77 wins throughout the year.
As a result of his revelatory season, the odds on Watson winning the 2019 Stobart champion jockeys’ title were once as high as 100-1 across online betting offers for 2018.
Punters certainly thought those odds were too big and forced them down to 40-1, then 25-1, and now 16-1, placing the youngster as the joint-fifth favourite to win the senior prize next year.
Watson is an apprentice to the esteemed yard of Andrew Balding, which has long been a breeding ground for champion apprentices and if Jason does go on to great success in 2019, it will also show that the apprentice title remains a great stepping-stone for young riders careers.
Jamie Gormley is another young apprentice who is one to keep an eye on and providing he doesn’t turn over, the Northerner will be a leading candidate to succeed Watson Champion Apprentice next year.
An apprentice of trainer Iain Jardine, Gormley rode 39 winners in 2018 and certainly has a promising future.
Does the name sound familiar? No we’re talking about former six-time Champion Jockey Kieren, but his 19-year-old son Cieren, who rode his first winner this year at Leicester in September.
He earned plaudits from both his Derby-winning father and trainer Brendan Powell when landing the apprentice handicap at Lingfield which he was as high as 3/1 to do so with bookies Ladbrokes.
Fallon Junior is an apprentice to the revered Willie Haggis and certainly has the genes to be flat racing star. That provides reason enough to keep an eye on him, but 2019 will provide further evidence on whether he can go on to create the same kind of legacy that his father forged.
Another fine apprentice to the serial winning yard of Andrew Balding, Joshua Bryan is the latest graduate who is set to have a big breakthrough.
Bryan is perhaps a less familiar name to the mainstream, but don’t be surprised if that changes in 2019.
The youngest entrant on this list may just have the most promising future of them all. Now seventeen, at just 16-years-of-age back in April Shane M. Crosse rode his first winner on the circuit. Crosse would go on to ride his first career double at Galway in September, a few days before his seventeenth birthday.
An apprentice to the powerful O’Brien stable, Crosse is getting plenty of rides for Aidan and Joseph. 2019 could also be a huge year for him.