Trevor Whelan is stable jockey at trainer Neil King's yard at Burderop, near Barbury Castle. This is his first season as a full professional jockey - last November he lost his claim as a conditional jockey: "This year will be my best year - I've been riding in better races."
We met in Marlborough on the day the Neil King trained Lil Rockerfeller was supplemented as a late entry to run in the Cheltenham Festival's Stan James Champion Hurdle - on Tuesday, March 15. Trevor looks forward to the challenge.
It was a decision made after Whelan rode Lil Rockerfeller to win the Grade Two totepool National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell on February 28 by nine lengths. The Racing Post reported the race as being "a typically cool Trevor Whelan ride...with a prodigious leap at the final flight...to land the richest race in Fontwell's history."
That was both Neil King and Trevor Whelan's first win in a Grade 2 race. The fee to supplement the five year-old gelding for the Cheltenham race is £20,000. Lil Rockerfeller is now being quoted at between 40-1 and 33-1.
Neil King told the Racing Post: "I just feel this year the Champion Hurdle is a particularly open race. Our horse is a young improving horse. He is in great form. He will go into the race on the back of a win, which not many in the Champion Hurdle can say."
It will Trevor Whelan's second ride in the Cheltenham Festival. Last year he rode in the race for conditional jockeys on Gold Cup day. But in 2014 he broke his shoulder two weeks before the Festival. He was riding twelve days later, but was still too sore to race.
Trevor describes Lil Rockerfeller as "A handy sized, strong horse - he's grown in the past year. A stocky lad - muscley and a good-looking horse." How does he think Lil Rockefeller will fare amidst the Festival buzz? "We're just hoping he'll run a solid race."
That morning, up on the Marlborough Downs, he had ridden out for Neil King in driving rain and strong winds: "It was", he said, "cold up there". Trevor is pretty good at understatement! He rides out at Burderop most days - except Thursdays when he finds rides with other trainers such as George Baker at Manton.
When he came to England from Ireland he worked as a conditional jockey first for Ian Williams near Redditch and for George Baker near Salisbury. Then in 2011 he joined Neil King's yard at the St Gatien Stables, Newmarket and moved with King to Burderop in 2014.
His time with Ian Williams was important. It was there he met his wife Samantha who is from Leicester via Australia where she spent time as a track rider. They live in Chiseldon - a short early morning drive from the Burderop yard. Trevor will have his 27th birthday next month.
I asked Trevor how he sees his career in racing. He is a laid back fellow: 'It depends on the horses. You can have a bit of luck. I suppose it takes one good horse to promote you."
He achieved some excellent 'promotion' when he won the At The Races 2013 Jump Ride of the year award. This award is one of the prestigious Stobart Lesters (named after Lester Piggott and sponsored by the Stobart Group.)
In November 2013 Trevor rode Persian Herald to win a two mile handicap hurdle at Fakenham - it was, the award judges said, a 'never say die' effort. Trevor says, a bit quietly, "He was a pig of a horse". Quite unusually, the pair had also won the day before at Leicester.
Trevor is a slight young man and I asked whether he had ever thought of riding under flat racing rules: "Not at the minute." In October last year he did win the Alderbrook Stakes - Glorious Goodwood's annual race under flat rules but restricted to jump jockeys.
It might be tempting to switch rules as he does not have to struggle to keep his weight down: "It's a hard enough job without worrying about your weight. I'm lucky I don't need that struggle."
He certainly likes the camaraderie of jump racing's weighing room: "It's good fun. But when it comes down to it - out of the weighing room everyone's serious - they do the job properly. You're a professional athlete at the end of the day - and you have to look like one."
So far this season Trevor has won 30 races - 29 over jumps and one flat race under National Hunt rules. This compares with 34 wins in 2015 and 29 in 2014.
He has rides from other trainers, but Neil King's yard is doing well this year - so he is well placed to overtake his 2015 number of wins. The day before we met Trevor had ridden You Say What to victory at Exeter in a three miles Novices' Hurdle.
Officially the ground at Exeter was 'Good to soft', but it was sticky - and he brought You Say What home to win by three-and-a-half lengths as a 6-1 chance. Next season You Say What is expected to flourish over jumps.
Would Trevor go to the races if he was not riding? "I'd go to Cheltenham if I wasn't riding - but if you're not racing you want to do other things." But he will be racing at Cheltenham next week - keep an eye on Lil Rockerfeller and Trevor Whelan.