2019 is underway and the racing season will soon be in full swing. Cheltenham is just a couple of months away and it’s the hugely popular Presenting Percy who is currently the 5/1 favourite across the best Cheltenham apps to win the Gold Cup.
As with any year, it will be interesting to see what new faces are on the scene, as well as the continued development of the sport’s established young jockey’s.
Here we pick five of the best young riders for you to keep your eye on over the coming season:
Brighton’s Jason Watson rode his way to the title of Champion Apprentice last year, racking up a total of 77 wins in 2018 across a revelatory breakthrough season.
As a consequence, the odds on Watson winning the 2019 Champion Jockeys’ title have been forced down from 100-1 to as low as 16-1, with many punters fancying the 18-year-old to win the senior prize this year.
Watson is the latest apprentice off the conveyor belt from the stellar yard of Andrew Balding and if he does go on to ride a hatful of winners in 2019, it will add further proof that the apprentice title provides a great stepping-stone for young rider’s careers.
Another young apprentice to keep an eye on is a certain Jamie Gormley, who providing he doesn’t turn over to the professional ranks will be a leading candidate to succeed Watson as the Champion Apprentice for 2019.
A promising rider across the Northern circuit last year and an apprentice of revered trainer Iain Jardine, Gormley rode a total of 39 winners in 2018. He’s set to have a big future.
Yet another fine apprentice to Andrew Balding’s yard, Joshua Bryan is another graduate who is due a breakthrough and it should come in 2019.
Bryan has perhaps gone under the radar somewhat amongst racing insiders to date, but that will surely change this year.
At just 16-years-of-age back in April of last year Shane Crosse burst onto the scene, riding his first winner and setting tongues wagging. Crosse would go on to ride a first career double at Galway in September, just a few days before his 17th birthday. Only just legally able to drive, Crosse will be getting plenty of rides in 2019 as an apprentice to the O’Brien stable.
2019 should be a huge year for the youngster.
The 19-year-old son of six-time Champion Jockey Kieren Fallon, young Cieren rode his first winner year at Leicester last September and it looks as though the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree.
Cieren is an apprentice to the Willie Haggis stable and Fallon Jr certainly has the pedigree to become a flat racing star. That alone gives enough reason to keep an eye on him this year and 2019 will provide further evidence on whether he can go on to forge anything like the same legacy that his father left on the sport.