Grand National Jockey: Danny Cook

8 March 2020
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Danny Cook has ridden about 200 winners over the last five seasons but will be remembered for something negative. He was banned for riding for six months in 2015 after testing positive for a recreational drug. However, he served the ban and has got his career back on track. The jockey was having his best season in terms of winners in 2014/15 but made a huge error of judgement. It is testimony to Cook’s skill as a horseman that he was able to come back into the sport sand have more success. Cook does not come from a racing family and there were incidents earlier in his career when he took the wrong course. However, he is now established as a good jockey who can be trusted to give all his mounts a positive ride.

Danny Cook Career

Danny Cook began race-riding in the 2001-02 jumps season. At the time of writing, he has ridden 367 winners from 2514 rides. Those figures give him a career strike rate of 14.6%. That percentage equates approximately to one win in every seven races. Numerically, his best season was 2016-17 when he had 51 winners. Cook’s three best seasons followed the six month ban. It was a case of taking the opportunities he was given after letting down the sport and people who had backed him, a blow to Grand National betting community as well. In the current season, Cook has produced 12% strike rate which is below his career average.

Danny Cook

Cook has ridden just one winner at the Cheltenham Festival. He was on board Great Endeavour when that horse won the Byrne Group Plate in 2010. The best horse on ratings that Cook has partnered is Definitely Red, trained by Brian Ellison. Cook has won six races on the horse, including three at Grade 2 level. He has also had five wins aboard Wakanda, trained by Sue Smith. Cook has not won a Grade 1 race but has won nine Grade 2 races and one at Grade 3 level. In terms of prize money, his biggest success was the 2018 Scottish Champion Hurdle which he won riding Midnight Shadow for Sue Smith.

Danny Cook Trivia

Danny Cook is the son of a landscape gardener from Romford in Essex. His family background is more likely to know how to bet online rather than ride. A visit to Aintree to see the Grand National when he was aged 18 gave Cook the desire to be a jumps jockey. The jockey graduated through racing school and has now ridden horse in races for almost 20 years. He mainly sides for trainers in the north and he has had most success with horse trained by Sue Smith and Brian Ellison. Cook is now one of the senior jockeys in the weighing room and retirement is becoming an issue as the strain of travelling takes its toll. The jockey made a huge mistake in regards to banned substances but came back into sport to enjoy some success.

Danny Cook’s Record in the Grand National

Danny Cook has ridden in the Grand National four times but has never won the race. In fact he has not completed the course and fell at the first fence in 2019. Vintage Clouds had been backed for the race but did get beyond the first obstacle, which was a huge disappointment for Cook. His best chance was on Definitely Red in 2017. The horse was the 10/1 second favourite but was pulled up at Valentine’s on the first circuit which is the 9th fence. Definitely Red appears in the ante post betting for the 2020 Grand National with some bookmakers. If the horde gets to the race, Cook could be having a fifth ride in the most famous steeplechase in the world.

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