Joshua Bryan another fine advertisement for Balding apprentices

Andrew Balding was delighted to see Josh Bryan rewarded for his hard work with the biggest victory of his career on Johnny Drama in the John Smith’s Cup at York on Saturday.

Bryan is one of many riders who have honed their trade as apprentices at the Balding stable over the years, including William Buick, David Probert and champion jockey Oisin Murphy.

The 21-year-old has been at Kingsclere for five years and this could be Bryan’s breakthrough season.

He rode out his claim in March and has now made the most of his chance on the big stage, with an accomplished display on Johnny Drama for his boss in one of the most competitive handicaps in the calendar.

Though Bryan regularly partners Johnny Drama at home, he was only taking the mount on the six-year-old gelding for the second time in public since the horse joined the Balding yard from Ger Lyons’ Irish stable two years ago.

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“I was really pleased. Josh rides the horse a lot at home and he puts in a lot of work behind the scenes with other horses, so it was nice to give him the opportunity of a decent winner and he gave him a great ride,” said Balding.

“He’s been with us a while now. He’s a very capable rider and I’m pleased he got his opportunity.”

Balding reports Johnny Drama to have taken the race well, but where he runs next will be dictated by the handicapper.

“Johnny Drama is fine. Obviously we’ll see what his handicap (mark) is on Tuesday. That will dictate what we do with him,” he said.

“It was a good, tough performance having been off the track a while. It was a good effort.”

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