Delighted Egan crowned apprentice champion at Catterick
The Stobart Apprentice Jockeys' Championship for 2017 has gone to David Egan, who on a soggy afternoon at Catterick held on to beat his rival Kieran Shoemark by one, 53-52, with neither of the pair having a winner at this final meeting.
"I couldn't be happier," said Egan, 18, who was presented with the magnificent Tom O'Ryan Trophy watched by his father John and his grandfather Kieran.
Before dashing off to Wolverhampton he added: "Two weeks ago I had a clear lead but it has been a good battle with Kieran who has been a tough rival. I will be going to New York for the winter to work for Wesley Ward."
Although Shoemark had the stronger hand numerically on the final day with four rides, he could manage only two third places from the first three, so he needed his last mount – Peterhouse in the 1m4f handicap – to win to gain a share of the title.
His mount failed to run his race on the soft ground, so it was game over.
Many of the jockeys came out of the weighing room and Egan was held shoulder high after Dale Gibson had given him the valuable silver horse memento which is now a permanent trophy for the leading apprentice of the season.
Although Egan had two of his scheduled mounts taken out on account of the soft ground he finished second on his two remaining rides including on the aptly-named Memories Galore in the feature 5f handicap.
Egan said: "It's been a great year, I couldn't be happier with how it's gone. My dad's been such a big influence, were it not for him I wouldn't be in the position I am and it is great for him and my grandfather, who has come over from Ireland specially, to be here today.
Egan joins an illustrious roll of honour that includes the likes of Josephine Gordon, Oisin Murphy, Tom Queally, Ryan Moore, Paul Hanagan, Frankie Dettori and William Buick who shared the title with David Probert in 2008.
Prior to racing at Catterick, Shoemark said: "It was exciting to even get in the position of being so close. I didn't think this was going to be possible two weeks ago. I'd had a ban and was ten or so behind, I had a few doubts but I never gave up and it was great to go into the final day with a chance.
"I've got a great boss in Roger Charlton, who has been very supportive, and hopefully that can continue next year."