'It's unbelievable to be riding in a race like this on Derby weekend'
Mark Boylan speaks to four potential future stars of the saddle
Hackett Apprentice Derby | 1m4f, 3yo+ | ATR
Twenty rising stars of the turf in Ireland will bid to add their name to the Apprentice Derby role of honour at the Curragh on Friday night, joining the likes of Jamie Spencer, Fran Berry, Cathy Gannon, Padraig Beggy, Shane Foley, Martin Harley, Ben Curtis and Ronan Whelan.
Beggy, who rode Wings Of Eagles to Epsom Derby glory this month, won the race on Tim Doyle's Jumbo Rio in 2008, while Spencer won the 1997 edition on Jim Bolger's Oumaladia.
Ana O'Brien, who enjoyed success in this race last year and is already stretching clear in this year's apprentice title race, rides Thomas O'Malley for brother Joseph, while Caroline Murtagh, successful on Jocular two years ago, partners topweight Full Court Press for her father Johnny.
Hometown: Rathmullan, County Donegal
Attached to: Eddie Lynam
Apprentice Derby ride: Whatsforuwontgobyu (Tony Martin)
I rode 33 winners on the pony racing circuit, but I'm quite a long way from home these days.
I'm in at Eddie's every day and he's been good to me, but I've been well supported with plenty of outside rides. Tony Martin has looked after me with lots of rides in good races, with Quick Jack being one of the best days I've had so far in my career.
I'm hoping for the best with Whatsforuwontgobyu in the big one and he should do himself justice. A ride anywhere is good, but it's nice to have a spin on Derby weekend in a race like this.
Hometown: Graignamanagh, County Kilkenny
Attached to: Eamonn Sheehy
Apprentice Derby ride: Zeftan (Adrian Keatley)
I'm delighted at how things are picking up after returning from an injury at Dundalk, riding three or four winners in the last couple of weeks. I broke my right tibia and had a concussion in the fall in February and as a result I returned a month ago.
I'm signed on to my father, but I go up to Adrian Keatley's most mornings – he's been very good to me and given me lots of spins.
Pony racing went very well and I rode 170 winners in that code. I've spent a bit of time with Willie Mullins and led up Valseur Lido in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham two years ago.
I thought Zeftan ran well at the Curragh when I rode him a couple of weeks ago and he needed the run after a break.
The trip should really suit and he's been working well at home, with Adrian's horses flying at the moment.
It's unbelievable to be riding on Derby weekend in a race like this and I'm really looking forward to it.
Hometown: Maynooth, County Kildare
Attached to: Michael O'Callaghan
Apprentice Derby ride: Bayan (Gordon Elliott)
I've been very lucky to have got the leg up on some nice horses for big stables – like Gordon Elliott this weekend – and I owe an awful to my agent Kevin O'Ryan for getting me on the right horses.
I'm enjoying things and ride out for most mornings for Michael O'Callaghan, who has been very good to me.
My biggest win to date came in a €150,000 handicap on Irish Champions Weekend on Maudlin Magdalen for Donal Kinsella, and if Bayan could run well for Gordon it'd be another great day.
I was due to ride him a few weeks ago at the Curragh when he ended up being non-runner, but even though he's coming off the back of a layoff, I'm hopeful he'll be fit enough to do himself justice.
Hometown: Newmarket-On-Fergus, County Clare
Attached to: Kevin Prendergast
Apprentice Derby ride: From Eden (Val O'Brien)
It's great to have a few nice rides and when they win it's a great feeling – now it's all about keeping the ball rolling.
Kevin Prendergast has taught me loads, and when you're riding there you usually get a good break and he's fair with giving chances.
It's my first ride in this race and I'd like to think From Eden has a big chance.
I've never ridden at Val's, but my agent got in touch and I'm delighted to have got the ride – the trip and ground should be no problem.
It's probably the biggest race I've ridden in to date and hopefully I can build from it again.