A Newmarket based National Hunt jockey has had his skills in the saddle recognised after being shortlisted for an award at this year’s Lesters.
Twenty-four-year-old Trevor Whelan, stable jockey to town trainer Neil King, is among the final four in contention for the At The Races Jump Ride of the Year, at the Stobart sponsored event.
Whelan was short listed for the prize alongside Tony McCoy, Leighton Aspell and Robert McGrath, for his ride aboard Persian Herald, who at the time was trained by St Gatien Stables handler King, in the Yokohama Tyres Novices’ Handicap Hurdle at Fakenham on November 19.
Although Persian Herald looked a spent force heading out on to the final circuit of the two-mile contest, Whelan some how galvanised the son of Proclamation to claim a surprise two-and-a-quarter length victory, just 24 hours after winning at Leicester.
“I was a little bit anxious with about a circuit to go at Fakenham, but he is a horse that always saves a bit for himself,” said Whelan.
“The main thing was to keep close enough to the rest of the field on turning for home as he seems to stay on when he knows the race is nearly over. You can never give up on him.
“I was delighted when I found out I had been shortlisted as it is a great achievement as a jockey to be recognised at the Lesters.”
Quick to show his support on hearing the news that Whelan had made it on to the last four was his boss at St Gatien Stables.
“It was only down to Trevor’s never say die attitude that he won that day at Fakenham,” said King.
“Trevor is a very talented and very fit rider who looks to have a bright future. As soon as I heard he was in the running for the award I was over the moon for him.
“To be recognised like this by your colleagues is the ultimate pat on the back, I just hope he can go on to win it now.”
On the day of Whelan’s victory at Fakenham it also saw him carry to glory the name of the town’s New Astley Club, which sponsors him through their British Horseracing Authority funded Racing Youth scheme.
“I have known Trevor for a while and he is somebody that keeps his head down and works hard. He is a good role model for our Racing Youth project,” said Matt Mancini, the club’s community director.
“Trevor has a good brain and good hands and gives 100 per cent on every ride. He deserves these breaks and hopefully this can be the spring board to better things.”
To vote for Trevor, visit www.attheraces.com. Voting closes on January 31.