I feel very lucky, says retiring Davy Condon

Davy Condon insists he feels “very lucky” despite being forced to retire from the saddle due to a spinal injury.

I feel very lucky, says retiring Davy Condon

The 30-year-old suffered spinal concussion after parting company with Portrait King in the Aintree Grand National.

It was the second time within a year that he suffered a spinal injury.

Condon had resigned himself to the fact he would be out of action for a lengthy period of time but after seeing a specialist on Wednesday he accepted advice to “retire from horse riding, be it professional or recreational, due to the risk of further spinal injury”.

Recalling the incident that brought his career to a premature conclusion, Condon told RTÉ Sport: “I landed face first on the ground. I got another spinal shock and I lost power from the neck down. I was able to walk away from the sport but I wanted to do it on my own terms.”

That unfortunately was not possible but Condon is aware things could be worse, stating he felt fortunate in comparison to fellow jockeys JT and Robbie McNamara, who both suffered spinal injuries in falls.

“I am very good friends with John Thomas McNamara and Robbie McNamara. They are obviously going through a lot tougher time than I am. I actually feel very lucky,” he said.

Bryan Copper was one of many of Condon’s now former weighing room colleagues to pay tribute to the Cork man on Twitter.

“Very sad to hear Davy Condon is forced to retire,” Cooper posted.

“One of the most stylish and strongest jockeys in the weigh room. He will be sadly missed.”

Jonathan Burke wrote: “Sad to read of Davy Condon’s forced retirement. Top class jockey, great friend neighbour and role model. All the best for the future.”

Paul Townend hailed Condon as a “legend”.

“Really gutted for Davy Condon, what a talent and a legend of the weigh room! I owe him a lot for all his help & guidance,” he tweeted.

Richard Johnson described Condon as a “great jockey and top man” while Sam Twiston-Davies said he was “very sad” at hearing the news.

Condon’s best days in the saddle in recent years came when riding for Gordon Elliott and the trainer also paid tribute via Twitter.

“Very sad to say that Davy Condon has been forced to retire from racing due to injury,” said Elliott.

“Davy has been an integral part of the team and has ridden some of the biggest winners I have had in my short career.

“Davy will not only be missed by myself, he is a very popular person in the industry and here at Cullentra.

“We all wish him the very best of luck with whatever he chooses to do next with his career and if we can help in any way, we will not hesitate to do so.

“Thanks for everything Davy, we’ve had some great memories together.”

Condon’s last major win came at Ascot in The Ladbroke on the Elliott-trained Bayan, which was only his third ride back since the first bad back injury he suffered at Cork in August.

“I’m a bit emotional at the moment, it’s great to be back — I didn’t think I’d make it back,” he said then.

“It was my toughest injury so far and I was in a lot of pain.”

His last Grade One success came on Pat Fahy’s Morning Assembly at the 2013 Punchestown Festival and he also won a Powers Gold Cup on Realt Mor for Elliott earlier that season.

The early days of his career were spent with Willie Mullins and he first came to prominence to British race fans when winning the 2007 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle on Ebaziyan.

Condon then enjoyed success with Noel Meade and filled in very ably when Paul Carberry was injured on the likes of Go Native, winning the Fighting Fifth and Christmas Hurdles in 2009.

Other top-class horses he partnered to victory include Monet’s Garden, Pandorama and Mount Benbulben.

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