Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Neil's Diamond Century; A Hundred Reasons Why Quiet Man Callan Can Now Enjoy the Limelight

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Neil's Diamond Century; A Hundred Reasons Why Quiet Man Callan Can Now Enjoy the Limelight

Article excerpt

Byline: GRAHAM CUNNINGHAM

Ton up: Neil Callan, on his way to victory (above), has led the way this year

HANDS up if you know which jockey looks odds on to win the race to ride a hundred winners on the Flat in Britain this year.

Now hands down those who suggested it might be last year's champion Frankie Dettori, currently nursing a badly broken collarbone, or the rejuvenated young pretender Jamie Spencer. And stand in the corner those who felt the everimproving Robert Winston, or the stylish Richard Hughes, might be leading the chase to get into three figures.

No, the man who will break through the hundred barrier first is Neil Callan.

Don't feel the need to write a hundred lines if your answer is Neil who? Just make a careful note of a quiet achiever, who is enjoying a memorable season while planning even bigger things over the next few years.

Callan, 26, hasn't had a ride in any of the four British Classics this year and watched from the weighing room during all six Pattern races run at Newmarket's prestigious July meeting last week.

Less patient riders have become disenchanted when high-profile rides continue to go to the old guard but the young Dubliner is content to play the long game. "Of course, it's a bit frustrating when the good spares go to lads who are riding a lot less winners than you are, but there's no use beating yourself up about it," he said. "I take the view that if you keep advertising yourself by doing what you do best, then you will get your reward in the end."

Not many young jockeys have the ability to take such a reasoned view of their career path nowadays. Then again, not many of them have clawed their way to the top of the table after having to wait three-and-a-half years between their first ride and their first winner.

"It looked pretty grim back then in Ireland and I knew it could have gone either way," Callan said. And in this case, the other way represented a new career as a kitchen fitter. "It was all arranged that the permit holder I was working for at the time was going to train me up, but I got a month's trial with Karl Burke when he was training near Lambourn and that proved the turning point. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.