'It's gutting' - Jonjo O'Neill Jr set to miss key part of season through injury
Jonjo O'Neill Jr has been stopped in his tracks just as the season gets underway after being ruled out for at least six weeks with a shoulder injury sustained in a fall at Aintree last weekend.
The jockey was taken to hospital following a heavy fall on Morning Spirit in the 3m1f novice handicap chase on Sunday and although released later that night he now faces missing a crucial part of the season following consultation with a specialist.
"It's not great news as it will be six weeks if I'm lucky," he said on Wednesday. "I've torn my AC ligament [acromioclavicular], which keeps the collarbone and the shoulder together, in my right shoulder.
"With ligaments, they need time to settle down and then build back up again. You've got to be patient but I'll be pushing hard to be back as quickly as I can."
O'Neill Jr, whose career has been blighted by a series of injuries, had only been back a month after damaging his left shoulder blade in a fall at Worcester in July.
"I've been unlucky with some bad falls and the other day the horse didn't really take off and I plummeted to the ground quite hard," he said.
"It's unfortunate and gutting really, as Dad's horses were in really good form. I was looking forward to a nice season and hopefully I can have a good second half to the campaign."
The 2019-20 champion conditional, 23, is set to watch from the sidelines as two of his key horses return, with Soaring Glory and Time To Get Up, both trained by father Jonjo O'Neill, entered for Ascot on Saturday.
Soaring Glory, who provided the jockey with his most valuable success in last season's Betfair Hurdle before finishing fourth in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle, is due to return in the Listed Bateaux London Handicap Hurdle (2.10).
"I'd imagine he'll be going to Ascot. It's the right race for him and a nice starting point. He's entitled to come on for his first run but he's done enough to hopefully run a good race.
"He's definitely a classy horse – he wasn't quite right when he came back from Cheltenham and I think he's better than that."
Big things are expected from last season's Midlands National winner Time To Get Up, who could make his comeback in the Grade 3 Bateaux London Gold Cup (3.20).
"I don't think it's been decided yet whether he'll go to Ascot and he's also in the Grand Sefton [on November 6]," O'Neill Jr added. "He's got a few options and hopefully he can turn into a National horse."
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