Egan and Shoemark to fight out finish in Apprentices' title
The outcome of the Stobart Apprentice Jockeys' championship is no longer the foregone conclusion it might have looked a couple of weeks ago, and with five days to go Kieran Shoemark is fancying his chances again.
A fortnight ago David Egan looked home and hosed with a lead of ten, but in the meantime Shoemark has outscored him by eight winners to two, reducing the gap to just four.
Both drew a blank at Windsor on Monday, where Egan's best chance was a non-runner, and they go separate ways on Tuesday, with Egan heading to Kempton and Shoemark to Leicester, before resuming the head-to-head battle on Wednesday.
Shoemark is adamant that it's "still 'doable'", but win or lose he can look back on a season that has surpassed all expectations – as indeed can Egan, who has 51 winners to Shoemark's 47.
Shoemark said: "It looked almost impossible a couple of weeks ago, but now I think I've every chance again as I could have 35 rides this week, and there are plenty of good ones among them. I'll be going to Catterick on Saturday if I've still got a chance."
"Whatever happens though, it's been a fantastic season and definitely tops all that's gone before.
"The Royal Ascot win [on Atty Persse] was fantastic, and I'm riding for all the right trainers. Roger [Charlton, his boss] has been brilliant, and I'm riding regularly for John Gosden, David Menuisier, Amanda Perrett and loads of other good trainers," he added.
'It'll still have been a great season'
Whereas around half of Shoemark's winners have come from Charlton, Egan's support has come from a huge number of different trainers and his boss Roger Varian has provided just one winner from 24 rides. That's not an issue to Egan, however. Far from it.
He said: "The boss has been very supportive. He's being particularly helpful towards the end of the season, and I've got a good ride for him at Lingfield on Wednesday, but riding winners for so many different trainers will help when I lose my claim."
Echoing Shoemark's comments he added: "Even if I were to be caught it'll still have been a great season – a lot better than I could ever have hoped for.
"I could never have imagined starting the final week four winners clear. I didn't even think I could be a contender – I was just looking to keep on improving my riding and to build on last year, but after I won a nice handicap at Ascot on Tisbutadream for David Elsworth things just took off for me."
Members can read the latest exclusive interviews, news analysis and comment available from 6pm daily on racingpost.com