We are delighted to bring you a Rising Stars Interview with Conditional National Hunt Jockey Nathan Brennan. The Irishman is learning his trade with Chris Gordon & with a few winners already under his belt this season is looking for many more before the season’s out….

Nathan with Kameko at Andrew Baldings Yard

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself please?
I’m 21 and from Ireland. I grew up just outside inner city Dublin in a place called Cabra, my grandparents lived in Monasterevin co. Kildare not far from the Curragh racecourse and they owned horses for as long as I can remember. We used to go down there every weekend which I think sucked me into horses . I finished school when I was 15 and started working full time for the Hughes family on the Curragh.

I started riding out at Dessie’s yard at the age of 12, from then I was in every weekend riding out on the Curragh

Do you remember your earliest racing memory?
I remember going to the Galway racing festival during the summer when I was younger on Galway plate day, which was a great day.

Did you always want to be a jockey or did you have another career in mind?
No I didn’t always want to be a jockey, from what I can remember I wanted to be a soldier in the army.

Pres – Nathan’s first chase winner

Which route did you take into racing?
I was very fortunate the route I took into racing, a family friend, Mark Dreeling of Coole House Farm, was head lad at Dessie Hughes Yard many years ago & knew the current head lad at Dessie’s yard on the Curragh and got me a weekend job. I started riding out at Dessie’s yard at the age of 12, from then I was in every weekend riding out on the Curragh with some of the best jockeys in the country. I had lads like Bryan Cooper, Roger Loughton & Mark Enright to learn from and look up to . 

How did your Conditional job come about?
I was riding as an amateur in Ireland for Noel Meade and had mentioned to Sean Flanagan, Noel’s stable jockey about coming over to England. He got me a job with Henry Oliver for a season I then got word that Chris Gordon was looking for a conditional and thought it was a great opportunity and I couldn’t turn it down.

Can you tell us about your first ride under race rules & were you nervous?

My first ride under rules was as an amateur for Sandra Hughes on a horse called Pauplewel around Wexford in bumper. I don’t think I was nervous it was more a case of the butterfly’s than being nervous!

And your first winner?

My first winner was at Sedgefield on a mare called Darlyn for Henry Oliver, such a genuine mare who gave you all she had . She gave me a day I will never forget .

Nathan & Mount Windsor

And your favourite winner to date?

That’s a tough question , I really enjoyed my winner aboard Mount Windsor at Taunton. I had won on him the time before around Fakenham and was the first time I had won on a horse twice in a row, which was great.

What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
Keep your head down, work hard & it will all pay off eventually .

How do you think the season has gone so far & what are your aims for the future?
Really happy with how the season has gone with 6 winners so far this season and I am getting plenty of rides both for my boss and outside trainers. Going forward I just hope to keep getting plenty of rides and making contacts and hope that the winners will follow.
I would love to be able to challenge for a conditional jockeys title at some stage .

Nathan’s first ride at Cheltenham on Ozzy Thomas

Drink… Fanta orange
Food…. Chinese
Music…. Gerry Cinnamon
TV/Film…. Action movies

If you could ride one horse PAST or PRESENT, who would it be & Why?

Past horse – Istabraq
Present horse – Envoi Allen

And Finally….. Can you give our readers a horse to keep an eye on in the next few weeks or maybe next NH season…..

We have a horse at Chris’s called Annual Invictus, who’s won 3 novice hurdles and was 4th in the Betfair hurdle, on his first run in a handicap. I think he will be a chaser to look out for next season.

We would like to thank Nathan for taking the time to do this for us in this busy period in the National Hunt calendar & we look forward to watching Nathan’s career progress with great interest…..

Interview – Rich Williams

Pictures – Nathan Brennan

March 2021