Jonathan England described it as a “privilege” to ride Birkenhead to victory in the Sky Bet “Jump Jockeys’ Nunthorpe” Handicap at York.
National Hunt luminaries such as Tom Scudamore, twice a previous winner, Aidan Coleman and Sam Twiston-Davies were all taking part but it was the lesser-known England, who rides principally for his wife, Sam, based at Guiseley near Leeds, who came out on top.
Riding one of five runners in the race for Paul Midgley, England drove Birkenhead to prominence with a furlong to run and the 25-1 chance held off stablemate Leodis Dream to win by a neck with the same distance back to La Roca Del Fuego.
England was too busy in the saddle for the stewards, though, and he was given a seven-day ban for overuse of his whip.
“That was very enjoyable. I rode in it last year for Paul but didn’t have much luck (last of 10),” said England.
“That lad today, I thought he had a good chance and it turned out he did, he won that very easy.
“It’s good fun beforehand and when we all get down to the start no one really knows what they are doing.
“It’s just nice to be a part of this at York, it’s a privilege to have a winner here.”
Midgley said: “Coming into the race I was leaning towards Leodis, shortly followed by Indian (Sounds, eighth) with the other three holding bits of chances.
“I always like to have runners in this, it’s a great race for the jumping boys as they get to go really fast for a short period of time.
“Everybody wants to ride at York but not everyone is lucky enough to do it.”