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Next Gen | Connor Bowman

 Image © Healy Racing

Name: Connor Bowman
Age: 19
From: Navan, Co. Meath

Connor Bowman recorded his first victory in point-to-points at Ballingarry on the closing day of the 2023/2024 season aboard Calahill for handler Cian Collins and owner Liam O'Farrell. 
How did you get involved with horses? 

When I was quite young I started to show some interest in horses. My dad brought me to the local riding school and I started to learn from there.

When I was old enough, my parents bought me my first pony. I did a lot of hunting and pony club with him.

I hunted with the Meath Hunt and pony club with the Meath Hunt Pony Club.
Instead of doing Transition Year in school, I went to RACE in Kildare.

I was there only a couple of months when Covid hit so I had to go home then. I started riding out for Andrew McNamara during that time. 
Shortly after that, when I went back to school, I started working for Cian Collins, he is local to me, at weekends and whenever I could. 

What was the first racehorse you ever sat on?

I can’t remember now!

Do you work full-time?

Yeah, I work full-time. Every morning at Cian’s and in the afternoon, I ride a few lots for Gillian O’Callaghan.

How did the ride on Calahill come about?

The owner, Liam O’Farrell, is a local man and I would know him quite well. I rode a horse before for him so I got to ride Calahill through that cobnection.

I ride him out everyday at Cian’s so I know him very well. 

What is he like at home? 

He’s very straight forward at home. He leads all the young horses schooling over fences and hurdles. He’s a gentleman. 

Do you know what the plan for Calahill is now?

I think he will back over hurdles for the summer and I’m sure Cian will have a plan for him.

Did you get some kick out riding your first point-to-point winner?

Yeah it was unbelievable, a great buzz and a great confidence boost.

Were your family there on the day? 

No! My brother and my dad were meant to come up to it but they got lost en route so they didn’t make it in time.
Do you come from a horsey background?

No, my parents wouldn’t be into horses at all, they never sat on a horse!

My grandad would have been though, he was a farmer and always had a few horses, he was involved in a few syndicates in England.

Is there someone that you regularly seek advice from? 

I ride out every morning with Denis O’Regan and Davy Condon. They would be two great people to get advice from.

They’ve done it all and know what they are talking about. 

Did you walk the track with someone? 

Yeah, I walked the track that morning with Cian, I never rode around Ballingarry before. 

Cian told me to jump out sharp at the start and get the horse into a comfortable position. It all happens very quick around there.

What’s the best advice you have been given?

I don’t know to be honest! I'm getting plenty advice all the time and I try to take it all on board. 

Watch and study the way good jockeys ride at all stages of a race and learn from them.

Who has been your biggest influence in racing?

I would be watching all the top jockeys.

Davy Russell, I would have looked up to him and watched him in particular on the TV and I’d look up to Denis O’Regan and Davy Condon as well.

If I could achieve half as much as they have, I would be very very happy. 

Was it always your plan to take out your license?

For a long time, yeah. I always dreamed of being a jockey and thankfully some people have helped me along the way to make it happen and get going at it. 
How long do you have your license?

I got it at the start of the point-to-point season. 

What is your earliest memory going racing?

I think my first memory of going racing would be heading to Navan races, that's my local track.

What are your plans for the summer?  

I’m not fully sure. Hopefully, I can get a few rides on the track in bumpers and over hurdles as well. Learn more and get more experience. 

Are there challenges that face young jockeys starting out in racing?

There are so many good jockeys out there at the minute that it's very hard to get going. 

Have you interests outside of racing?

I enjoy going hunting whenever I get time with the Meath Hunt.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Thanks to Cian for putting me up on the horse and thanks to his owner Liam O’Farrell who I know is still in shock over the whole thing!

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