CHEPSTOW jockey Darren Egan will be sweating in and out of the sauna for the next two and a bit weeks.
That’s because the 20-year-old, based with sprinting supremo Ron Harris, faces a nervous test to see if he can remain in pole position in the race to become champion apprentice.
While he began an 18-day riding ban under the whip totting up procedure yesterday, joint 2nd in line Amy Ryan will be doing everything in her power to bridge the gap of six winners.
Most men would not mind being chased by a woman I bet, but this time the attention is most unwelcome.
Because Ryan has plenty of firepower, thanks to her Yorkshire trainer dad Kevin.
Add to that a little bit of north-south rivalry and we have all the ingredients for a pulsating end to the flat season in November.
In triumph or tears, Egan has done a tremendous job bringing the spotlight on his local training base.
It’s not often Wales can compete with the likes of New-market, where the racing fraternity are encamped, and Egan has caught their eye with rides for the likes of Roger Varian and David Sim-cock.
The jockey has already helped his boss to the most winners at Chepstow this season and Harris will be hoping to repay the favour when the riding ban is no more.
“No one in Wales has ever had a champion apprentice so we will be doing everything we can to hold on,” said Harris. His horse to follow, Prod-igality, will have to do without the up and coming jockey in the day’s big handicap, Doncaster’s 3.00.
The four-year-old son of Pivotal has an able deputy aboard in Joe Fanning and a light weight at the foot of the Portland handicap.
Harris will be hoping the sun has got his hat on as the gelding missed a race here on Thursday due to the ground and got a little bogged down in it last time out.
His 2nd in the Great St Wilfrid consolation race puts him bang up there against some higher rated rivals, including his stablemate Secret Witness.
Harris is hoping Prodigality and Egan will continue their promise and it is clear young talent is firmly rooted in this part of Monmouthshire.
In another, old pro The Tatling is now channelling his enthusiasm in a different field. Quite literally, as his most recent outing was at the Usk Show.
I’m always keen to keep readers of this column up to speed with the old boy in his retirement, given he was one of Wales’ best flat racehorses in his prime.
The 15-year-old has teamed up with someone nearly his age, 16-year-old Hannah Worgan, and has registered with the Retraining of Race-horses charity.
Having as much energy as a can of Red Bull for most of his life, the veteran sprinter is finally accepting a quieter life.
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, so the saying goes, and racehorses are sometimes hard to retrain.
“He has been used to going so fast,” said Hannah. “But he has clamed down a lot, he was as good as gold the other day.”
My family supports the Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Centre and I think such charities do a fantastic job.
You won’t be finding Camelot at such a place any time soon, however. If completing the Triple Crown bid in the St Leger today, his job will be to pass on his genes to a new generation.
He is an unbackable price, but Michelangelo is value to make the frame.