Borderlescott lifts Cosgrave to fringe of a different world

It was no more than another day at the office yesterday for Pat Cosgrave, one of the army of journeymen who keep the humdrum, conveyor belt side of the industry going by riding the also-rans. A last and a second-last in two Class Six races at Great Leighs, home to Newmarket, and back to Essex tomorrow for three more spins round the sand. All very routine and a long way from the glamour of, say, Johnny Murtagh's 17 Group One victories.

Cosgrave, though, now knows what it's like at the top. On Friday the young Ulsterman made the breakthrough when he drove Borderlescott home in the Nunthorpe Stakes at Newmarket. It was his 1,934th ride in Britain since taking the decision to cross the Irish Sea four years ago in search of glory. "It's what makes all the days like today worthwhile," he said yesterday. "It's what everyone wants. Getting on good horses is what you work hard for."

Actually, to say that Cosgrave just makes up the numbers at the back of the field is not entirely fair. Yes, he is out of the frame more often than in it, but then so are all jockeys and his win strike-rate, 13 per cent, is better than most others below the very top tier. In fact, he is heading for his best campaign ever in terms of both quality – that Group One – and quantity, needing only six more wins to surpass last year's 60.

Cosgrave, 26, was Ireland's champion apprentice five years ago, having served time with two of the best of mentors, Kevin Prendergast and Aidan O'Brien. For him, as for others, the greater scope in Britain beckoned.

A spell on the Northern circuit brought the contacts that led to his partnership with Borderlescott, trained by Robin Bastiman at Cowthorpe, near Wetherby. "The one thing you do need in this game is luck," he said, "and you never know at the time how things will work out.

"I had ridden a few for the stable last summer and they were looking for a rider who could commit to a partnership with the horse this year. It was between me and Robert Winston, and he rode him first time out, and won on him. Then – lucky for me, unlucky for him – he was suspended and I got the ride in a Group Two at Haydock."

Fred Archer himself would not have brought Borderlescott home in front of Fleeting Spirit that day, but Winston was back in the saddle next time, when the gelding came in second again in a lesser contest at Salisbury. "After that I was put back on," said Cosgrave. "He just got done at Chester and ran a blinder in the Stewards' Cup. And then there was Newmarket."

The race could not have panned out better, with the South African mare National Colour blazing a lightning trail. "They probably went a bit too quick in front," Cosgrave said, "but my lad nicked a couple of lengths so I just left him to it. He's got so much natural speed that I think he's probably better over five furlongs.

"I always thought I'd be able to pick the leader off and I never even had to go for my stick. And the horse deserved it, he's clever but completely genuine."

Cosgrave, brought up in Co Down, honed his early talents on the pony racing circuit in Ireland before riding his first winner at Dundalk (Perugino Lady, for Prendergast) nine years ago. "I played the Gaelic sports, hurling and football, to a decent level as a teenager," he said, "but I thought I'd be better off financially with a career in racing. I like to keep busy."

His workrate is typical of his profession at this time of year: 41 rides (for his main supplier, Jim Boyle, and 21 other trainers) at 12 meetings in the past two weeks, with two days off. Since the high of Borderlescott, he has had 15 rides without success, but maintains his level view of life. "Only time will tell whether that race will make any real impact," he said, "but I'd like to think that it certainly won't do any harm.

"That day was great – if you don't enjoy days like that you shouldn't be in racing – but I'll just try to keep on kicking in winners and hope that another good horse comes along.

"You've got to have luck on your side. And to ride a first Grade One winner from a stable of 14 horses is unbelievable. I'd had nearly 50 rides for Robin and that was my first winner for him. Not a bad way to do it."

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Danish director Lars von Trier
filmEnglish-language series with 'huge' international cast set for 2016
Life and Style
tech
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Junior Software Developer - Newcastle, Tyne & Wear - £30,000

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Junior Web Developer / J...

Systems Administrator (SharePoint) - Central London - £36,500

£35000 - £36500 per annum: Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator (SharePoint) -...

Biology Teacher

£90 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: We are currently recruiting...

.NET Developer / Web Developer / Software Developer - £37,000

£30000 - £37000 per annum + attractive benefits: Ashdown Group: .NET Developer...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering