Simon Condon won the first race of his career as a jockey this week. That's not unusual. But it is unusual when you understand he's 59 years old.
A butcher then a HSE employee and a taxi driver in Dublin. But always a jockey.
Simon Condon has spent his life enjoying working with horses and riding horses. The healthcare assistant first rode competitively when he was 19 years of age. He first rode a winner in a competitive race 40 years later, this week at Kilbeggen on Thursday Evening.
Condon rode Eat The Book, trained by David Dunne, who went off as a 40/1 outsider.
He spoke to Racing TV immediately after the race:
“I’ve been waiting a long time for this. It’s hard to describe the feeling. Normally when I ride, there are always horses in front of me. To be in front, with nothing ahead of you? I got some buzz out of that. It’s the best feeling ever.
“It was amazing to pass the line in front, a day I’ll never forget. I’ll probably get emotional about it tomorrow.
“Eat The Book was a handful in the early days and I’ve had a fair few falls off him. He’s broke me up a good few times. Now, he’s a grand horse but he’s owed me that. My Dad bought him for me to ride and David’s done a great job training him. He broke his elbow in Thurles and the prognosis was very bad. It’s been some training performance to get him back.”
Condon overcame celebrated jockey Mark Walsh who was aboard A Different World.
He joined Johnny Ward on Friday Night Racing to recap how the race was won.
"I had walked the course a few days previous," Condon said.
"It was originally a three mile race. They'd put it to 2.7 because there's generally a mad rush to the first fence and they didn't want them going that fast...so I figured they might go a bit fast anyway so I kept her down to start. The ground on the inside was all churned up.
"I said I was going to stay on the outside where it was much better ground.
"I knew that he'd stay and I got the nice bit of ground. It takes him a while to get warmed up. I knew it was going to take him a lap to get warmed up, so I didn't mind. There was no pressure on me from owners or trainers. I thought the horse might have needed a run, but as it turned out he didn't."