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Jonjo O'Neill Jr back on Thursday after rapid recovery from shoulder injury

Jonjo O'Neill Jr: originally expected to be out for at least six weeks
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Jonjo O’Neill Jr is set to make a remarkable return to the saddle at Market Rasen on Thursday just 25 days after tearing a ligament connecting his right shoulder and collarbone.

The rider expected to be out for at least six weeks after sustaining the injury in a fall from Morning Spirit, trained by his father Jonjo O’Neill, in a 3m1f handicap chase at Aintree on October 24.

However, the former champion conditional jockey was able to accelerate his recovery after visiting consultant orthopaedic surgeon Richard Evans, who specialises in treating shoulder injuries, particularly those suffered by professional rugby union players.

O’Neill said: “I thought I was going to be out for a longer time after my first diagnosis, but I was luckily able to see another specialist called Richard Evans in Cardiff, who was very helpful and spot on in getting me going again.

“Gareth Maule, who used to play professional rugby and is now a sports agent, was unbelievably helpful in getting me in to see him as lots of the rugby boys use him for their shoulder injuries.”

Alongside a programme of icing the injury and fitness work prescribed by Evans, O’Neill praised the work of the staff at the Injured Jockeys Fund’s Oaksey House in Lambourn in aiding his recovery, while he also emphasised how he was motivated to return as soon as possible to avoid missing a key part of the jumps season. 

Jonjo O'Neill: doubly represented at Market Rasen

“Richard gave me a management programme so I could work as hard as I could to get as fit as possible without aggravating the injury,” O’Neill said.

“I’ve had plenty of injuries before but with this being more ligaments than bone I had to make sure I was on top of icing it for the first week to bring the swelling down. Once that happened I was able to push myself quicker than I expected.

“The staff at Oaksey House have been very good at pushing me and I’ve had to work hard to get to this point. A lot of people have helped me and I’m confident I’m fit and ready to be back riding

“I’ve always wanted to come back as soon as I could, but I’ve had that extra drive of being at home not riding winners or being involved when it’s an important part of the season.”

O’Neill Jr returns with two rides at Market Rasen for his father, Orrisdale in the 2m5f handicap chase (1.52) and Springwell Bay in the 2m½f bumper (3.25).

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I’ve had that extra drive of being at home not riding winners or being involved when it’s an important part of the season
E.W. Terms