Bed-bound Hatch roots for The New One to deliver festive fillip
Ryan Hatch will be banking on The New One delivering some seasonal cheer as he copes with having to spend Christmas in hospital.
Since suffering a crashing fall at Cheltenham on December 9, which left him with a haematoma on his spinal cord and fractures to his neck, vertebrae and sternum, Hatch has been confined to his bed in Southmead Hospital, Bristol, and is likely to remain there for another month.
The injuries cost him the winning ride on The New One, who romped to an impressive victory in the International Hurdle under replacement Richard Johnson, but Hatch will be rooting for him again when he contests the 32Red Christmas Hurdle at Kempton with Sam Twiston-Davies in the saddle.
Speaking on Christmas Eve, Hatch said: "It's a funny feeling watching your rides racing. You obviously want them to run well but you're also gutted at not being there. At the same time it spurs you on to get back as quick as you can. It's good motivation.
"With Sam available I wouldn't have been riding The New One this time, but obviously I want to see him win. I thought it was quite an improved performance at Cheltenham the other day. If he can do a similar thing I think he can beat them. He's not faced Yanworth before but has the beating of the others at the minute."
"The fall was very painful," Hatch said. "It took me a while to get up. Then I walked into the ambulance and that was the last time I was on my feet.
"I lost the feeling and movement in the lower half of my body for about a day. That was quite worrying, but it started to come back very quickly and things have progressed from there to a point where I've all the feeling and movement back in my legs.
"I'm on my back and been told I will be for another month. I went for an MRI scan yesterday but have not had the results yet. It's quite challenging and very frustrating.
"I watch television, including the racing, and have my iPad to watch plenty of films. It can be quite boring but I'm trying to keep myself occupied and I've had plenty of visitors, which is great because it makes the day go by a lot quicker."