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Childhood friends | Rivals on...
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Childhood friends | Rivals on the track | Jockey Gavin Ryan and Ben Coen

Neil Treacy
Neil Treacy

18:03 25 Jun 2021

Champion apprentice jockey Gavin Ryan joined Ger Gilroy and Johnny Ward on this week's Friday Night Racing, ahead of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby this Saturday.

Ryan will be riding 25-1 shot Fernando Vichi in tomorrow's big race for trainer Donnacha O'Brien.

The 21-year-old has made big strides in the last few months, winning champion apprentice jockey in 2020, as well as being named as the winner of the Emerging Talent Award at the Horse Racing Ireland Awards.

Along with Ben Coen - who celebrated a winner at Ascot last week - jockey Gavin Ryan is aiming to upset the odds at the Curragh tomorrow, and as he explained to Ger and Johnny, he and his fellow jockey go way back.

"We were in the same class in school, and we're from two different parishes alright but they're only a stone's throw away from each other. We played for different GAA teams but in the same class at school.

"Nothing's really changed, we're still rivals just in a different sport," he joked.

As pointed out by Johnny Ward, Coen could hardly have looked more composed when winning his first at Royal Ascot last week on Create Belief in the Sandringham Stakes.

Ryan says his old friend and current rival has always had quite the poker face.

"Yeah, he's so laid back. I don't really know what you'd have to do to get a smile out of him! He's not grumpy or anything, he just doesn't show any expression!

"We were definitely friends, we used to go racing and the gym and sauna together, so we were palling around in school for a good while as well.

"When we started riding first, it was like every other jockey, you just want to ride winners, you don't really mind who they come for. You just want to ride as many winners as possible and get as much experience as you can.

"We'd probably have been talking above ourselves if we said we wanted to ride for these people, we were definitely just happy yo be on one with a chance.

"We were never too studious, once we started riding on the track, and we'd got the bug, there was very little school we could do to keep us focused!"

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Ben Coen Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Friday Night Racing Gavin Ryan HRI Horse Racing Ireland Irish Derby

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