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Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Leighton Aspell and Noel Fehily hope to return next month after serious injuries

Leighton Aspell: back in the saddle and ready to return to competitive action
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Two of jumping’s leading jockeys hope to be back in action next month with Leighton Aspell and Noel Fehily both recovering from serious injuries suffered in the spring.

Two-time Grand National hero Aspell fractured and cracked bones in his neck in a fall at Hereford at the end of March but has been riding out for the last five weeks and is ready to return as and when his main supporters need him.

“I went to see the consultant after 12 weeks and all the x-rays were good,” said Aspel, who fractured his C5 vertebrae and cracked the C4, injuries that did not require surgery.

“Things are quiet racing-wise at the moment, with Oliver Sherwood and Lucy Wadham having pretty much nothing to run, but I’ll be hoping to be back riding after the small break in the schedule in early August.”

The rider, who landed back-to-back Nationals on Pineau De Re and Many Clouds in 2014 and 2015, says he will return hungrier than ever and has been working hard on his fitness during his spell on the sidelines. 

He added: “It wasn’t very nice in the neck brace 24/7 for six weeks but since I’ve had that off I’ve been working hard at Oaksey House and at the gym, and 100 per cent I’m as keen as ever.”

Noel Fehily: out of action since April but close to a return
Fehily is a little further behind in his recovery from a neck fracture suffered in a fall at the Punchestown festival in April but hopes to get the all-clear in early August.

Like Aspell, Fehily did not require surgery after suffering a stable fracture to his C7 vertebrae. 

“I’ve been in Oaksey House two or three days a week and have being doing plenty in the gym," said the rider. "I’m hoping to get cleared at the start of August and I’ll hopefully get going pretty much straight away.”

Fehily, who has partnered more than 100 winners in each of the last three seasons, added: “The first couple of weeks, when there were plenty of horses to run through May, were frustrating but the way the weather and the ground is I’d say I haven't missed an awful lot in the last couple of weeks, and it’s been good to spend a bit of time with the family.”

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It wasn’t very nice in the neck brace 24/7 for six weeks but I’ve been working hard at Oaksey House and at the gym, and I’m as keen as ever
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