O’Regan back in the big time

It hasn’t been the easiest few years for Denis O’Regan but the Youghal jockey served a reminder of his undoubted talents with the winning ride on Cape Tribulation in yesterday’s Pertemps Final.

The win was the jockey’s third at the Festival but it ended a four-year gap since he posted a pair in the same festival week. Back then it was for trainer Howard Johnson, with Inglis Drever succeeding in the World Hurdle and Tidal Bay accommodating in the Arkle.

That partnership ended two years later when the Durham-based trainer opted against extending the Irishman’s three-year contract as stable jockey, but O’Regan’s northern contacts came through again here with this success for owner David Abell.

“I’ve been fortunate to ride some amazing horses during my career and when you lose it all very quickly, you have to start again,” said O’Regan, who has relocated to the south of England from where he is operating as a freelance.

“I’ve had great satisfaction from rebuilding my career and I’ve been supported by friends and colleagues.

“I’ve kept my contacts in the north and I’m glad I did because it’s given me another festival winner. Every winner counts now and I appreciate every single one of them. It means a lot. I haven’t had one for a long time.”

O’Regan’s talent has never been in question but his career has suffered through a combination of ill-timed injuries, self-inflicted bans and not to mention the time he weighed in 3lbs heavy after finishing second on Arcalis in the County Hurdle in 2010.

His tie-in with Johnson ended mere weeks after that.

Barry Geraghty has shown this week that a jockey whose career once caught cold can catch fire again and O’Regan’s win here was accompanied by some warming words from Abell, who felt his pilot rode Cape Tribulation beautifully.

“We were never quite sure he would stay three miles but he’s a class horse,” said O’Regan. “It took him a while to warm up, which may have preserved a bit for the end. He was in the zone jumping the last and it’s been a while since he’s been in front so perhaps that’s why he was idling.

“Malcolm Jefferson has always been a talented trainer and he told me some time ago that this was the plan for this horse. He had a lovely run at Haydock last time and it’s a great training performance to get him here in this form.”


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