MANY congratulations to Letterkenny’s Dylan Browne McMonagle on being crowned champion apprentice last Sunday at Naas where he rounded off the season in style when landing the mile maiden on the Noel Meade-trained Joe Masseria.

Dylan’s parents, John and Caroline, and his younger sister Orlaith, who has no interest in riding, were among 20 supporters (aunts, uncles, cousins, friends) who travelled down to Naas from Co Donegal to mark the occasion and even the inclement weather couldn’t spoil their day – although it did mean there was no delay to their journey home.


“We are all so proud of Dylan,” said Caroline, whose late father Hugo Brown was very much involved in the pony racing scene and passed on his love of the sport to his sons Adrian and Hugh. “Dylan was nine when he started riding in local pony races on Rachel Carton’s Aughavannon Kipper before moving on to ponies trained by Adrian. If there was a meeting on, we travelled to it, and with Orlaith being mad into Irish dancing, I’ve driven all over the country!


“Dylan deserves every bit of success as he works hard at everything he does and even passed his Leaving Certificate last year when it was so hard on students. When he was in national school, he became friendly with a boy whose father was a boxer so he got into that and ended up being an Ulster champion five times and won a national title as well. The boxing and racing worked well together and kept Dylan fit throughout the year as the boxing ran from September to March or April while the pony racing season was May to September.”

You can read a lot more about Dylan in Donn McClean’s The Big Interview on pages 14-15, but I couldn’t let Caroline go without asking her what she thought of Frankie Dettori’s outburst about her son following the Long Distance Cup at Ascot last month.

She replied: “Well, it didn’t show Frankie in a great light but it did Dylan no harm because, if people hadn’t heard of him before then, they certainly know who he is now!”

Hughes riding high

LAST Saturday, Brian Hughes partnered five winners on the seven-race card at Musselburgh.

Another win at Carlisle on Sunday and a double back at Musselburgh on Wednesday, moved the Co Armagh-born jockey on to the 85-win mark for the campaign. Riding at the same meetings, Downpatick’s Danny McMenamin partnered one winner at Musselburgh on Saturday, one at Carlisle on Sunday and then matched Hughes with a double at Musselburgh on Wednesday to hit the 17-win mark.