Which horse was Paddy Brennan’s first Grade 1 winner?
Born in Ardrahan, County Galway, in April, 1981, Paddy Brennan began his riding career in Britain as conditional jockey to Paul Nicholls at Manor Farm Stables in Ditcheat, Somerset in 2000/01. His first four seasons yielded three, five, 15 and 19 winners respectively but, in 2004/05, increased his seasonal tally to 67 winners; that was more than enough to win the conditional jockeys’ title and ride out his claim.
At the Cheltenham Festival in March, 2005, Brennan went tantalisingly close to riding his first Grade 1 winner in the Arkle Challenge Trophy, only for his mount, Ashley Brook, to make a blunder at the final fence, from which he could not recover. Due recompense wasn’t far away, though; less than a month later, he rode the same horse to victory in the Maghull Novices’ Chase – also a Grade 1 contest – at Aintree.
Brennan has ridden at least 50 winners in each of the last 17 National Hunt seasons and, with 42 winners to his name already in 2021/22, he seems certain to do so again, barring accidents. On November 16, 2016, he reached the career landmark of 1,000 winners on British soil aboard Colin’s Sister, trained by Fergal O’Brien, at Warwick and, at the last count, had ridden over 1,300 winners. He currently lies second in the 2021/22 jump jockeys’ championship, with 43 winners from 152 rides, at a strike rate of 28%.