On a soggy day at Nottingham in 2019, David Egan’s lucky number seven came up trumps.
His name – Mishriff – now a globetrotting superstar who helped the 21-year-old win his own lottery prize.
After they paired up in the mud on the Midlands circuit, Egan soon became first jockey to the colt’s owner Prince Faisal.
By February, the jackpot was his, when he earned £65,000 per second winning the £14 million Saudi Cup – the world’s richest race.
He banked just under £750,000 and then added another sizable sum from the Dubai Sheema Classic.
Back on home turf, Egan bids to pocket his first Classic cheque in the Qipco 2000 Guineas aboard Legion Of Honour.
Most men of his age are graduating from university, or gaining their first job – but he hopes to put another feather in his race-riding cap.
“Getting the ride on Mishriff was winning the lottery,” said Egan.
“If I hadn’t been on him at Nottingham, my career might not have snowballed from there.
“In life you need that bit of luck.”
Frequenting racecourses around the UK, Egan is yet to decide whether he will invest his chunky wedge in such luxuries as a house or a brand new car.
Dad John, who gave him a celebratory hug after his success at Riyadh, is one of his closest advisors on top of a career with more than 1,000 winners.
After young Egan made the headlines, even his former principal at the Patrician Catholic Secondary School in County Kildare got in touch.
“It was a nice surprise to reconnect with them and I’ve also had messages from friends back home,” he said.
“Mishriff has been a terrific horse with a huge heart and I’ve been very lucky to ride him.”
And so to Newmarket, where the grandson of the late Dessie Hughes, trainer of dual Champion Hurdle winner Hardy Eustace, rides this afternoon.
It takes him back to his roots, as his top grader won a Listed race at the track in summer 2020.
Just like that summer’s day, Legion Of Honour arrives with a similarly low key profile, with the one win to his name on Newcastle’s all-weather surface.
A half-length second to Megallan around a month ago, he has plenty to find with the principals, headed by Aidan O’Brien’s Wembley.
Will football be coming home in front, or can Egan find the back of the net?
“He’s not without a chance, he’s a lovely colt,” his rider says.
“We are drawn five and there are a few of the fancied runners around me. There is no superstar in it so the race looks quite open.
“Legion Of Honour will appreciate a strongly run race. The closest I’ve come to winning a Classic is a third in the 1000 Guineas a couple of years ago.
“These are the races why you become a jockey, they are big moments for your career.”
- The QIPCO 2000 Guineas is the first leg of the 2021 QIPCO British Champions Series in its 10th anniversary year. For more info visit britishchampionsseries.com