from defending his title as Champion Apprentice, Dylan Browne McMonagle has his
sights on bigger and better things this year, writes
After an astonishing 48 wins in 2021 saw him crowned Champion Apprentice, he went one better last year, clocking up 49 wins to take the crown again.
Now turned professional, McMonagle insists nothing has changed in his preparation for the season, while his goal remains the same: win as much as possible.
“I always had it in mind that I would love to try and have a go at being Champion Apprentice again,” he said.
“Obviously I was never saying that I would definitely win it or anything, but it was still nice to have a go at it and try and win it for the second time if I could.
“The target was really just to ride as many winners as I can and every year you just want to beat last year's tally, so to do that is great, and once you're doing that, you're always improving and you're riding more winners, which is really the main aim.
“This year is no different at all, it is the same races it was last year and it's going to be very competitive as it always is in our sport, but nothing really changes much at all.”
“The goal for the season would still be to try and beat last year's tally if we can, that would be a big ask, we'll give it a go and we'll see how we get on, but the main thing is just keeping injury free and riding as many winners as possible.”
One of McMonagle’s 49 wins last year was that little bit more special than the others, riding Al Riffa to Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes glory at the Curragh, his first Group 1 success.
This year there is more excitement around Al Riffa, with McMonagle and trainer Joseph O’Brien targeting Irish Guineas glory with the three-year-old colt.
“Al Riffa would definitely be the obvious one we are most excited about, he won the National Stakes last year for us, which was my first group one win and the highlight of my career so far," he added.
“He looks to be a very exciting colt going forward into this season and I think he's only going to be better this year because he's such a big horse.
“He's growing into his frame and what he did as a two-year-old was unbelievable, so he's very exciting for this season and I think the plan is to go to the Irish Guineas.”
At just 20, McMonagle has his whole career ahead of him and as with any young or aspiring jockey, the dream remains the same: competing in the Classics.
“Everyone's dream is to enter a Classic and ride in those races - never mind winning, which would be amazing too of course, but that's what everyone wants to do,” he continued.
“So if that day comes, it'd be great, I’m not saying I'm going to be winning anything this year or any of those races, but it would be unbelievable to get a few rides in those top-quality races.
“That's where your dreams come true in those big races and everyone wants to do it, so hopefully someday I'll be able to do it.”