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Local hero: Simon Torrens rides Rossmore’s Pride to Down Royal victor

Local hero: Simon Torrens rides Rossmore’s Pride to Down Royal victor

Local hero: Simon Torrens rides Rossmore’s Pride to Down Royal victor

Simon Torrens continues to progress in the jump jockey ranks. The local rider, based with Curragh trainer Aidan Howard, has partnered 21 winners to date, with two coming since the resumption of racing.

Torrens (24) partners Winter Escape in today's Galway Plate and considers the horse the best he has ridden.

He said: "I'm thrilled the boss, Aidan Howard, and Winter Escape's owner, JP McManus, have given me the opportunity to ride him in the Galway Plate."

Ireland's leading jumps owner has won the Festival feature numerous times and has a quartet engaged today.

However, Torrens' 7lb claim gives his mount a minimal racing weight. Torrens is also aboard the Dessie McDonagh-trained Morga in the mares' handicap hurdle.

The rider lists both local courses, Down Royal and Downpatrick, as his favourite tracks, not surprisingly having ridden his first winner on Rossmore's Pride at the Maze in 2017.

Asked which jockeys he most admires, Torrens said: "AP McCoy is a legend, while Ruby Walsh and Davy Russell are definitely among the greatest I've seen and I've been lucky enough to ride in races against them all."

Torrens always seeks advice on his performance in races from ex-Cheltenham Festival-winning jockey Barry Cash, who had a great association with the Ulster-bred Champion Hurdler Brave Inca, and his uncle, Omagh trainer Mervyn Torrens.

The jockey has not set himself any targets for the season other than to ride as many winners as possible and avoid injury.

Asked which race he would most like to win, he quickly responded: "The Aintree Grand National - that's the ultimate chase for a National Hunt jockey to win. Jockeys always get asked, 'Did you ride in the National?'"

Belfast Telegraph