59-year-old amateur jockey Simon Condon has won his first race after 40 years of trying. Riding aboard Eat the Book at Kilbeggan on Thursday evening, Condon, who is a health assistant in his day job, crossed for his first victory on the 40-1 runner.
It was a landmark first win also for the horse Eat the Book, a nine-year-old trained by David Dunne. His journey too is one of peaking later in life after a recovery from injury in his younger days that led to fears he would have to be put down.
Mark Walsh aboard A Different World was alongside Condon and Eat the Book at the last jump, only for the duo to hit the front and ease home by five and a half lengths.
Simon Condon wins his first race after 40 years of trying
Speaking to RacingTV after his win, Condon, who first raced back in 1982, spoke of his delight at finally getting that first scalp. “I’ve been waiting a long time for this,” he said. “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? Oh my God, 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 (Dunne, the trainer) 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.”