CASTLEDERG native Simon Torrens claimed his first ever national hunt win on Monday when he rode Rossmore’s Pride to victory in the Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Hurdle at Down Royal.
Having been due to race on Saturday, only for that opportunity to be closed due to a waterlogged course, Torrens was granted a second bite of the cherry on Monday at the rearranged St Patrick’s Day Meeting, which he grasped with both hands.
After a couple of frustrating years, which have included a horrendous injury after a fall in January 2016 and many rides not materialising, the former Omagh Academy pupil was determined to impress on Monday.
His ten-year-old mount was backed from 11/1 and went to post a 5/1 shot for the race, in which Torrens felt he had a chance to place.
However, he tracked the leaders on the gelding, challenging before the second last when he hit the front, holding on in the closing stages to beat Mister Butler by two-and-a-half lengths, with Mill Forge in third.
The result, which Torrens described as a ‘monkey off my back’ was also a first winner for French Donegal-based trainer, Christian Delcro, who moved to Ireland in 1977, and the 21-year-old was delighted with his achievement, which came at his ‘home track’, where he has some special family memories.
“It was good, a relief,” he said coyly. “I’m delighted, the horse couldn’t have done any better. I wouldn’t have wanted it to be any softer than that, but he went alright.
“I thought he was good enough to place, but it worked out better!
“And it was nice to do it on my home track because when my father was alive, that’s where he took us racing, so it worked out well,” he concluded.
Torrens was back at work at AJ Martin’s yard at the Curragh on Tuesday morning and he is hopeful that his maiden victory will lead to more opportunities on the saddle.