Jack Quinlan keen to wrap up a personal best season
Despite all of the disruption and uncertainty caused by Covid-19, Newmarket-based Jack Quinlan is enjoying a season to remember.
The jump jockey’s previous best haul of winners in a single campaign stands at 27, so with Quinlan currently having 24 to his name at the halfway point, he appears to be well on course to set a new personal best.
And for good measure, his win onboard the Nick Littmoden-trained Captain Speaking on November 30 at Fakenham was the 200th triumph of his career.
It came 10 years on from his first victory when he guided Belavard – trained by his mother Jo Quinlan – home at Huntingdon.
“Every jockey wants to be the Champion Jockey, but as time goes on you realise just how tough that is going to be,” he said.
“Sometimes you’d need 200 in a season to win that, it’s so difficult.
“But bringing up the 200 at Fakenham felt like a really big achievement and it’s a great landmark to reach.
“It’s been a good season overall so far. Christmas is the halfway stage and I’m already on 24 winners, and that is with all the upheaval with Covid.
“I’m really enjoying it. It’s not just the quantity I’m riding, but also the quality of animal I’m now riding, especially with the association I’m lucky to have with Amy Murphy (Newmarket trainer).”
A number of trainers – Murphy included – have previously stated their belief that a jockey of Quinlan’s ability is deserving of bigger opportunities than he currently gets.
Asked whether he agrees with that sentiment, he said: “It’s not just about me, there are a lot of under-rated jockeys out there.
“There is a good camaraderie in the weighing room, we all get on so well.
“It is incredibly hard to get on the right horse, and you need a bit of luck, like falling in with the right owner or trainer.
“I’m certainly not alone in that – I don’t feel lonely in my situation.”
One big ride Quinlan does presently occupy is that of Kalashnikov, whom he partnered to Grade 1 glory in the Devenish Manifesto Novices’ Chase at Aintree last year.
Murphy’s stable star has since suffered a number of injury issues, but he looked back to something near his best when finishing second at Cheltenham earlier this month.
Quinlan said: “We were thrilled after Haydock (in November). He really needed that run, but Cheltenham felt like another huge step forward.
“It was probably a pound or two off a career-best and it showed he’s still got that ability.
“He’s strong, willing and as competitive as ever.
“It’s no mean feat because a lot of horses would have been scarred mentally from what he’s gone through and they’d never perform again. He’s very strong in that respect.”