Horse Racing: Magherafelt teen rides first winner
Magherafelt teenager Nathan Evans got off the mark as a professional jockey as he claimed his first winner in the saddle on Saturday.
The 17 year-old, who recently joined the Mick Easterby stable as an apprentice jockey partnered the Easterby trained Among Angels to victory in the 5.05 race at Thirsk.
Sent off a 16-1 shot, Evans was in against much more experienced jockeys including the six times British champion jockey Kieran Fallon.
The Magherafelt teenager showed no nerves as he held his mount Among Angels up at the rear of the field during the early stages of the five furlong sprint race at the North Yorkshire track.
Evans began to move the gelded son of Acclamation into the contest around the half way mark and despite being squeezed for room just over a furlong out, Evan’s mount moved clear inside the final furlong.
The former Sperrin Integrated College pupil asked Among Angels for a little bit more and he duly obliged scoring by three quarters of a length from the Brian Ellison trained Northgate Lad in second.
Evans success, with only his ninth ever ride, will not have come as a surprise to close observers of the racing scene in the north of England, with the young man having gone close in recent weeks.
Nathan had ridden Old Man Clegg, a 20-1 shot, at Newcastle into second place in a fifteen runner handicap just days after he had gone close in a seventeen runner race on 25-1 shot Ancient Cross.
Nathan, a son of Paul and Claire Evan owners of the Marsh Kyfe Equestrian Centre in Magherafelt, had been a talented showjumper before taking up racing.
Indeed Nathan had never ridden a competitive race until his debut on track at Southwell just over a month ago. Just nine rides later and Nathan’s in the winners’ enclosure.
With another mid-Ulster man, AP McCoy, set to retire from compeitive riding this Saturday at Sandown, Nathan has shown the potential to give racing fans in the area a new jockey to follow in England.