Danny McMenamin has what it takes to follow in the illustrious footsteps of Sir AP McCoy - according to eight-time Champion Jockey Peter Scudamore.
McCoy won 20 successive Champion Jockey titles in a record-smashing career that saw him ride 4,358 winners and secure success in every major race before his retirement in 2015 at the age of 40.
It all started for Moneyglass rider McCoy with victory in the Conditional Jockeys Championship for rising stars way back in 1995 - a triumph that was immediately followed by that mind-boggling 20-in-a-row title run.
And Downpatrick ace McMenamin, who is based at trainer Nicky Richards' yard in Cumbria, is blazing a trail at the top of that very same Conditional Jockeys Championship - sparking Scudamore to earmark him as racing's next big star.
Scudamore said: "No young jockey has impressed me more this season than Danny McMenamin. Danny has flair and is the best conditional jockey I have seen in a while."
Previous Conditional title holders include Ulstermen Tony Dobbin and Brian Hughes - former Grand National winner and current Champion Jockey respectively - as well as four-time champion Richard Johnson.
McMenamin has already enjoyed big-race success in the Old Roan Chase at Aintree aboard Nuts Well in October and in the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham on Nietzsche back in 2018. And the 20-year-old has an eye on the Cheltenham Festival scheduled for March, pandemic permitting.
"Riding in big races helps a lot - it can really open doors for you. I might pick up a ride in the Conditional race at the Cheltenham Festival," he said.
"I am getting lots of opportunities but you are always looking to build as many contacts as possible with owners and trainers to get even more rides.
"I only need three more winners to lose my (weight) claim. The real test comes when you lose your claim," explained McMenamin, who heads the title race with 26 winners - and almost £200,000 in prize money. "I am in the mix for the Conditional title. It's just about keeping going and riding as many winners as possible."
McMenamin will be forever grateful to Downpatrick trainer Brian Hamilton for giving him his big break.
"I rode on the pony racing circuit and then Brian Hamilton taught me about race riding," he said. "I lived right in the town so didn't grow up with horses, but a family friend had horses and that's really how I got involved."
McMenamin started out with Hamilton before stints with Colin McBratney in Crossgar and Ger Lyons in Meath. Then came the move to England with a job at Richards' yard in August 2017.
"I've always found working in Nicky's yard straightforward. You're in early in the morning, ride out and do whatever needs done. Then, if you have a ride, you are off to the races," he said.
"The pandemic has been really hard on so many people. When you work with horses, everything just goes on - they have to be looked after no matter what."
McMenamin looks to the likes of McCoy, champion Hughes and Ruby Walsh for inspiration.
"Brian Hughes has incredible determination. He is Champion Jockey for a reason," he said. "AP McCoy's record is astonishing. I read an article that pointed out someone would have to ride 200-300 winners per season for nearly 20 years to overtake him. That just shows how good he was.
"Ruby Walsh was the jockey I always followed because I watched Irish racing a lot more when I was younger. He had great tactical awareness."
McMenamin is now accustomed to the travelling required to be a successful jockey in Britain. Carlisle is his local track, a handy 20 minutes down the road. But most other meetings involve a long jaunt, McMenamin doing the driving himself.
"I was supposed to be riding at Musselburgh the other day but it was called off. You would have been looking at a round trip of over four hours and that wouldn't be unusual," he said.
McMenamin's ultimate aim is to emulate fellow Downpatrick jockey Dobbin and win the Aintree Grand National, victory on Lord Gyllene in 1997 sparking wild celebrations in Co Down and beyond.
"The Grand National is the one I really want to win, particularly because Tony Dobbin won it, although that was before I was born. It would be fantastic to win it - that's the dream. I know from growing up in Downpatrick that nearly everybody in the town watches the race," he said.
"I've actually only ever ridden in one race at my home track and that was for Brian Hamilton. That was a very special day and I finished second. It meant a lot to me to ride at Downpatrick - lots of my family and friends were there but I didn't feel any added pressure. The track itself is hilly, a bit of a rollercoaster. Hopefully I'll get a few more rides back home."
A young man going places fast.