Davy Condon: "I'll be going back to Gordon Elliott to start riding out"PICTURE: Alain Barr (racingpost.com/photos)
Retired Condon cleared to return to riding work
DAVY CONDON, forced to retire from race-riding owing to injuries received when Portrait King fell at the third-last in the Grand National at Aintree in April, has been given the all-clear to start riding work again in the new year.
The news is a huge boost to Cork-born Condon, 30, who feared he would never be able to sit on a horse again because of the risk of paralysis.
"I've come to terms with what happened and I was warned not to ride professionally again," he said.
Condon, whose biggest successes included Cheltenham Festival victories on Ebaziyan and Flaxen Flare, has undergone an operation to remove the disc between the C3 and C4 vertebrae in his neck that was causing the problems.
"I was hoping I might still be able to ride out but had been told I couldn't even exercise horses, that it was too dangerous," he said.
"However, I got some good news from my surgeon, who said he's very happy with me after the operation, so I'll be going back to Gordon Elliott to start riding out again in the new year. I won't be doing any schooling but I'll be riding out six mornings a week."
He added: "I was paralysed on the left side down after the fall owing to the shock to the spine, so I knew it was serious. I gradually got the feeling back but the disc was high in my neck, in a very dangerous part of my neck, and it was touching the spine. It had to be taken out and they've done that and my spinal cord is okay. It's really much better now."
One of Ireland's leading jump jockeys, Condon began his career with Willie Mullins, for whom he rode Holy Orders in the 2003 Melbourne Cup at the age of 18. He also rode Noel Meade's top hurdler Go Native to victory in the Fighting Fifth and Christmas Hurdles.
Before he returns to work with Elliott, Condon is planning a two-month backpacking trip around Asia with his girlfriend Louise.
Leighton Aspell: "I was unconscious for about a minute"PICTURE: Getty Images
No break but Aspell facing spell on sidelines
LEIGHTON ASPELL has joined his brother Paddy on the sidelines after being knocked out when Uptendownone fell in the 2m3f handicap hurdle at Fontwell on Sunday.
Aspell, winner of the last two Grand Nationals, spent the night in hospital in Brighton but was discharged on Monday morning with no broken bones. He is planning to consult Dr Jerry Hill, the BHA's chief medical adviser, over the concussion process and time frame before he can be passed fit to return.
Aspell said: "They kept me in overnight for observation, but I'm fine and all the scans were clear. I was unconscious for about a minute and don't know how long I'll be out for, but I'll be talking to Jerry Hill, who knows how the procedure works."
Paddy hoping to be back for the all-weather
Cheltenham Festival-winning rider Paddy Aspell, 33, who now concentrates on the Flat but has not seen action since suffering a wrist injury in a fall at Kempton last December, underwent surgery to have a pin inserted a fortnight ago in the hope of salvaging his career.
He said: "To get my licence and pass the BHA medical department I had to have the operation, and the surgeon was happy when I saw him last week. The range of movement is still very poor but the wrist is still swollen and it's early days yet."
Aspell, who is keeping occupied working for William Hill Radio and studying for a sports journalism diploma, added: "I haven't given up on riding again and it all depends how long it takes the wrist to mend. I'd love to be back for the all-weather season."