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Browne McMonagle savouring Derby chance with Dancing Gemini

Browne McMonagle savouring Derby chance with Dancing Gemini
Browne McMonagle savouring Derby chance with Dancing Gemini

Dylan Browne McMonagle is backing Dancing Gemini to hold his own as he takes his first ever ride in the Betfred Derby.

The young jockey, 21, has risen quickly through the ranks and was crowned champion apprentice in Ireland in both 2021 and 2022 after linking up with Joseph O’Brien’s stable.

O’Brien won the Derby twice aboard horses trained by his father, Aidan, riding Camelot to success in 2012 and Australia to victory in 2014.

Appropriately, Camelot is the sire of Browne McMonagle’s mount as he aims to emulate O’Brien and land the race aboard Roger Teal’s Dancing Gemini.

Horse and jockey first teamed up in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas) at ParisLongchamp and were only just outdone when beaten half a length by Metropolitan.

Dancing Gemini winning the Flying Scotsman Stakes
Dancing Gemini winning the Flying Scotsman Stakes (Tim Goode/PA)

That run leaves the colt poised for his trip to Epsom, as does his pleasing piece of work on the gallops morning there. But the journey to the Surrey track will be a first experience for his young rider, who has never taken a ride there before.

“To have your first ride in the Derby is massive and to ride a horse that’s got a chance in it as well is extra special,” the jockey said.

“I’m really looking forward to it, Roger has him in tip-top shape, for sure, we’re all guns blazing.

“He had a good prep run in the French Guineas and he couldn’t have run much better for us without winning, he just got touched off, so I’m looking forward to a big run.

“It’s going to be my first time there, it’s going to be something different. We’ll have a good walk of the track and try to figure it out, he’s going to be my first so I’ll have to give it my best shot.”

Dancing Gemini working at Epsom
Dancing Gemini working at Epsom (John Walton/PA)

Dancing Gemini has been placed in stall 15, which is not statically a favourable spot, with the last winner to emerge from there being Sinndar in 2000. But Browne McMonagle is stoical about the draw and has no concerns about the going or the trip.

“It’s not ideal, but you have to take what you get. I’d imagine we’d be taking our time from the draw and hopefully we can slot into a nice position in the second half,” he said, on a Zoom call hosted by the Jockey Club and British Champions Series.

“You just have to take it as it is and hope you can get on the back of something that’s going forward, get into a nice relaxed rhythm and see what happens.

“Obviously you’d love to be a little closer over to the inside, but you just have to deal with what you get.

“He’s performed on most ground, he’s a really good mover and I think he’s going to be more effective on better ground. It’s not one of our worries, I think he’s very versatile no matter what. Hopefully it dries up a bit, but there’s not too much we can do about the weather.

“He’s bred to stay so there’s no reason why he can’t, he’s a relaxed horse, he’s got a very good attitude and I think he’ll take everything in his stride so fingers crossed.”

Naturally Browne McMonagle intends to consult his boss for an insight on how to ride the track at Epsom, and he considers the race to have an open feel as it lacks a standout contender following City Of Troy’s underwhelming 2000 Guineas effort.

“I’m going to have a talk with Joseph before the weekend and I’m sure he’ll give me a few pointers, there’s no better man to talk to,” he said.

“There’s no standout horse that you’d be saying is going to be very hard to beat. There’s a lot of good horses in it, it will be interesting to see what City Of Troy does off the back of a disappointing Guineas run and Los Angeles looks a very good horse.

“It is wide open and it’s just going to be whoever steps forward on the day. I’m on a very good horse with a lot of class, after riding him in the Guineas in France and with what he’s shown us, I think he’s got as good a chance as any.”

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