Imperial Commander’s victory in the 2010 totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup provided Paddy Brennan with what he described as the best day of his life.
Brennan was born at Ardrahan in County Galway on 13 April, 1981, and spent the summer of 1995 working for County Kildare handler Gerry Stack before embarking on a five-season apprenticeship with the leading Irish Flat trainer Jim Bolger, for whom he rode eight winners.
The first of those came on Ivory Isle at Gowran Park in August, 1998. He became too heavy and tall for the Flat and moved to Paul Nicholls’ stable as a conditional jockey in 2001. He stayed there for two and a half years, riding winners for Nicholls and Jeff King, before joining Philip Hobbs in the 2003/04 season as one of that yard’s conditionals. Brennan also struck up a good rapport with Ashley Brook, on whom he won the Grade One Maghull Novices’ Chase at Aintree in 2005, and enjoyed a first Cheltenham Festival success that year aboard Shamayoun in the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle.
Brennan was appointed as retained rider to owners Andrea and Graham Wylie, who have their horses trained in County Durham by Howard Johnson, for the 2006/07 season and rewarded those connections when guiding Inglis Drever to victory in the 2007 Grade One Ladbrokes World Hurdle at Cheltenham – the gelding’s second success in the race. Brennan parted company with Johnson and joined Gloucestershire-based handler Nigel Twiston-Davies in the 2007/08 season.
He has built up an increasingly impressive record of big-race successes, bagging his sixth career Cheltenham Festival victory when Pigeon Island won the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase on the same day as Imperial Commander’s Gold Cup win.