Dowling eyeing surprise return to saddle in two weeks
Conditional jockey Tommy Dowling, who was resigned to at least two months on the sidelines after apparently breaking bones in his back in a fall at Newbury last month, is eyeing a return to action within the next fortnight after a second opinion revealed the injury was the result of a previous fracture.
Dowling, who also broke some ribs after Bold Runner suffered a heart attack when preparing to jump the third in a 3m handicap hurdle, was encouraged to seek a further assessment by Oaksey House physio Daloni Lucas and received his good news after visiting consultant James Wilson-Macdonald at The Manor Hospital in Oxford on Monday.
It is a major fillip for the rider, who spent four months on the sidelines last year after a horror fall at Fontwell.
Dowling said: "I went for a second opinion on my back and it's an old fracture, so hopefully I can be back race-riding in two weeks.
"It's more than a bit of a boost – I'm chuffed to bits. I went to see the consultant in Oxford because I was feeling too good. I'm swimming every day and riding the simulator every day and it felt too good to be a fracture. He thinks it's an old fracture and so hopefully I can get passed fit in the next fortnight.
"When Daloni saw what I was doing and how well I was doing it, she was the one who said, 'We need to get a second opinion on this – you're not a person with a fractured vertebrae'. So she sent me over to James Wilson-Macdonald and he came to the conclusion that I was okay and it was an old fracture – I've fractured my back three times before.
"I still have a couple of ribs broken and need to let them settle down for the next week to ten days and then I can get back riding out and then racing a few days later."
Dowling, who has ridden 16 winners in Britain, was based with Charlie Mann, but will link up with the Worcestershire-based David Dennis when he returns to fitness.
He added: "Hopefully I'll start riding out for David towards the end of next week and it'll suit me as I'll be closer to Tom Symonds and Henry Oliver, and it will help me to get in with them.
"I thought long and hard about where to go over the last few months and he seems the right place, but I'll still ride a bit for Charlie and keep in with him."