Henry Brooke won the Becher Chase on Highland Lodge 12 months agoPICTURE: John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)
Brooke to return seven weeks after being in coma
JUST seven weeks since being placed in an induced coma with multiple injuries, Henry Brooke has been cleared by his specialist to return to action in good time before Saturday, when he will be reunited with last year's winner Highland Lodge in the Betfred Becher Chase at Aintree.
Brooke, who had to be airlifted from Hexham after a fall from Old Storm left him with a punctured lung and broken ribs, saw specialist Jonathan Ferguson of the cardiothoracic team at James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough on Monday and emerged smiling.
He said: "I've got the all clear. It's brilliant news."
The former champion conditional rider, who was on 26 winners for the season and enjoying a great run at the time of the Hexham fall, added: "The specialist said I'm good to go, and he can't see any reason why I can't get riding again straight away. As I'm returning from injury I still have to pass the racecourse doctor, but that shouldn't be a problem. I'm buzzing about it."
Brooke hopes to ride Sophie Olivia in the bumper at Catterick on Wednesday and then to get a few rides in over jumps before the weekend.
'We'd better not have a freeze-up'
He said: "I just want a few rides to get my eye in again. There's a good bit of racing up here before Saturday, so we'd better not have a freeze-up now."
Brooke, who has been back in the saddle riding out for weeks, and spent some time with Highland Lodge at trainer Jimmy Moffatt's at the end of last week, added: "I can't wait for the Becher Chase, but I don't think I'll be sitting on Highland Lodge again before then unless Jimmy wants me to for some reason.
"I'd never sat on him in my life before Aintree last year and he was brilliant there, so I don't think there is any need."
Highland Lodge is a general 16-1 chance for Saturday's race.