Irish conditionals O'Keeffe and Brouder look set to tear up record books
Darragh O'Keeffe and Kevin Brouder, the next generation when it comes to Irish jump jockeys, are on course to smash the record for the number of winners ridden by a conditional rider in a season.
Such has been their impact that Paddy Power have priced both of the young riders up to be champion jockey in the next five years, with O'Keeffe just 6-1 to be Ireland's champion over jumps by 2025, while Brouder is 10-1 to be top dog in the same time frame.
The two conditionals have been making the headlines during the first half of the Irish jumps campaign and look set to make a big impact during the core season.
O'Keeffe, 19, is sitting second in the senior championship on 42 winners, only five fewer than defending champion Paul Townend, while Brouder is fifth in the same table on 28 winners.
Spare a thought for poor Conor McNamara, who would be odds-on to win the conditional title in any other season thanks to his 16-winner haul by mid-October, but is a rank outsider because of the relentless gallop set by the two hottest properties in Irish racing.
Donie McInerney was champion conditional last season with 21 winners, just 12 months after taking the title the previous season with 32 winners – the same total as 2017 champion Rachael Blackmore notched.
When Jack Kennedy beat David Mullins to the title in 2016, he scored an unprecedented 44 winners thanks to Gordon Elliott's backing.
O'Keeffe, who idolised Sir Anthony McCoy growing up and is just two winners shy of Kennedy's final total already, has ridden for a staggering 81 different trainers since the current campaign commenced in May and Enda Bolger, who has been his mentor from a very young age, believes he has the attitude to go right to the very top.
Ireland's last five champion conditionals
2019 Donie McInerney (21 winners)
2018 Donie McInerney (32)
2017 Rachael Blackmore (32)
2016 Jack Kennedy (44)
2015 Jonathan Burke (42)
"Darragh is a great lad and has always been a good rider – he also has a very old head on very young shoulders," said Bolger. "I love his attitude. He comes in early and mucks out stables and would have no problem painting a fence or anything like that."
The trainer added: "He’s just as good over fences now as he is over hurdles. I think he has the talent and the attitude to make it to the very top."
Brouder has been booked by 44 different trainers this season and has twice teamed up to score on the Dermot McLoughlin-trained Glendaars Warrior.
"The owner [Frank Reynolds] was keen for Kevin to ride the horse and you could see why," said McLoughlin. "He did absolutely nothing wrong on the horse either time. He kept things very simple and straightforward. He did everything he was told to do and is obviously a very good rider."
Brouder is 6-5 with Paddy Power to ride 50 winners or more this season and Paddy Power spokesman Paul Binfield says the firm are not taking any chances on either of the top two conditionals being crowned champion in the next five years.
"Both of these two young men are great horsemen and prodigious talents and it won’t be a huge surprise to see either of them crowned champion jockey in the next few years," said Binfield.
Paddy Power specials:
Darragh O'Keeffe to ride 75 winners or more this season Evs
Darragh O'Keeffe to ride 100 winners or more this season 11-4
Darragh O'Keeffe to be Irish champion jockey this season 25-1
Darragh O'Keeffe to be Irish champion jockey by 2025 6-1
Kevin Brouder to ride 50 winners or more this season 6-5
Kevin Brouder to ride 60 winners or more this season 7-2
Kevin Brounder to be Irish champion jockey by 2025 10-1
Get ahead of the game with Get Your Eye In - exclusive Saturday preview content on racingpost.com and the Racing Post mobile app from 2pm on Friday