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Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Egan and Shoemark to fight out finish in Apprentices' title

Apprentice Jockeys' title contender Kieran Shoemark has enjoyed a fine season including a first Royal Ascot success on Atty Persse
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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."


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It looked almost impossible a couple of weeks ago, but now I think I've every chance again I could have 35 rides this week, and plenty of good ones
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