Grand National Jockey: Denis O’Regan

23 March 2020
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Denis O’Regan can now regarded as a ‘veteran’ jockey after a highly successful career that has seen the Irishman ride a number of big winners. He has competed at the very top level in horse racing – including the Grand National on a number of occasions. Although he has never won the big race he will once again be among the favourites to come home as part of the leading pack.

Career

Denis O’Regan had already had 13 winners as an amateur before turning professional in September 2003 in Downpatrick. This season has seen the Irish jockey compete in his 17th year of top quality horse racing.

O’Regan worked under a number of notable trainers early on in his career. He first started as an amateur with Francis Flood – and also rode horses for National Hunt trainer Noel Meade.

Now an experienced Grand National jockey, Denis O’Regan recorded his first really big win on Ansar in the Galway Plate in 2005. These were successful times for the jockey and he managed a remarkable 56 wins in one season. It was this kind of record that made him a name in Grand National betting as well as alerted Durham-based trainer Howard Johnson – and he became a stable jockey there soon after.

Denis O’Regan

It was during this time in England that Denis O’Regan forged more successful partnerships with a number of horses. He won a number of big races on both Tidal Bay and Inglis Drever, including the Long Distance Hurdle, World Hurdle and Maghull Novices’ Chase.

There has never been the opportunity to crown Denis O’Regan Grand National winner however. The closest he has ever come to winning the prestigious race was when he finished second in 2010 on Black Apalachi. He had won the Becher Handicap Chase on the same horse in 2008 – run at the same Grand National racecourse of Aintree.

Since then there have been more Denis O’Regan Grand National appearances but he has come no closer to finishing first. He continued to have more big wins though, including the Eider Chase and Haydock Grand National Trial – both in 2012.

O’Regan returned to Ireland in 2016 to work with trainer Barry Connell and achieved success on Tully East, winning the Close Brothers Novice Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

He is still racing but as an unattached jockey now. But there could still be time for the personable Irishman to go down as Denis O’Regan, Grand National winner.

Trivia

Denis O’Regan was still at primary school when his father bought him his first pony – and he soon became interested in racing in local meetings and drag hunts. His father still runs the Lombards Pub in Denis’ home town of Youghal in County Cork.

As with many jockeys, Denis is superstitious and apparently always puts his left riding boot on first before races.

Wins

  • Galway Plate – July 2005
  • Handicap Hurdle – September 2005
  • Novice Chase – October 2005
  • Novice Hurdle – October 2005
  • Handicap Hurdle – November 2005
  • Champion Novice Chase – April 2007
  • Handicap Chase – May 2007
  • Long Distance Hurdle – December 2007
  • Gold Cup – December 2007
  • Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase – March 2008
  • World Hurdle – March 2008
  • Maghull Novices’ Chase – April 2008
  • Becher Handicap Chase – November 2008
  • Mildmay Novices’ Chase – April 2009
  • Summer Hurdle Handicap – July 2010
  • Grand National Trial – February 2012
  • Novices’ Handicap Hurdle Final – March 2012
  • Pertemps Final – March 2012
  • Handicap Hurdle – April 2012
  • Fighting Fifth Hurdle – December 2012
  • Future Champions Finale Juvenile Hurdle – January 2013
  • Argento Chase – January 2013
  • Summer Hurdle – July 2013
  • Novices’ Hurdle – October 2013
  • Handicap Hurdle – November 2013
  • Hurdle Trial – February 2014
  • Fillies’ Juvenile Hurdle – December 2014
  • Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle – December 2014
  • Paddy Power Chase – December 2014
  • Novices’ Chase – February 2015
  • Hurdle Handicap – July 2015
  • Hurdle Handicap – September 2015
  • Novices’ Handicap Chase – March 2017
  • Handicap Hurdle – August 2018
  • Handicap Chase – October 2018
  • Handicap Chase – May 2019
  • Handicap Hurdle – May 2019.
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