Danny McMenamin rides out his claim and turns attention to conditionals' title
Danny McMenamin has set his sights on staying at the summit of the British conditional jockeys' championship after riding out his claim at Market Rasen on Sunday.
The 20-year-old, who is based with Nicky Richards in Cumbria, partnered the 75th winner of his burgeoning career on 25-1 shot Archie Brown for trainer Henry Hogarth and is looking to emulate recent conditional champions Jonjo O'Neill Jr, Bryony Frost, James Bowen and Harry Cobden.
"It was great to ride out my claim and it's been a brilliant season so far as I've had my best number of winners," said McMenamin.
"It's going to be different now as being able to claim can be a big help, but I'll just have to improve. I've got some good contacts in the north of England and, hopefully, I can build on them and keep picking up rides."
Topping the conditional jockeys' table on 28 winners, McMenamin leads Bryan Carver by five and with Brian Hughes out in front in the main championship, the north is in the rare position of being responsible for the leaders of both title races.
"The conditional title is the main aim for the season and it would be great if I'm lucky enough to win it because there are a lot of good conditionals out there," said McMenamin. "I'm in front and I've just got to stay there. If Brian and I could do it for the north, it would be brilliant."
Like Hughes, McMenamin hails from Northern Ireland and followed the same path to the north of England three years ago on the advice of former jockey Tony Dobbin.
"I'm very grateful to Nicky as he has given me lots of opportunities since I moved over and I've also benefited from the great advice of my jockey coach Brian Harding, who has been there and done it," he said.
McMenamin made his big breakthrough when winning the 2018 Greatwood Hurdle as a 7lb claimer on Nietzsche and also won the Grade 2 Old Roan Chase on Nuts Well in October.
He has struck up a good rapport with Nuts Well, who has not raced since the Old Roan but is being readied for Aintree in April with the possibility of a run beforehand.
"I went and sat on him the other day and he's in great form," McMenamin said. "The ground just hasn't been ideal for him the last couple of months and we're looking to go for the Premier Chase at Kelso [March 6], if the ground is suitable, and then on to Aintree."
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