Mangan fights back from almost losing a foot to record emotional Kempton win
Last summer jockey Gina Mangan suffered an injury so bad on the gallops her surgeon was unsure if she would be able to keep her foot, let alone ride again. Seven months on, she defied the odds to claim a comeback victory at Kempton.
An overwhelming love and passion for racing and horses sustains Mangan, 28, whose career has been one of few rides and few winners. Sunday's was just her sixth in total.
However, those same feelings have kept her going for the past seven months after a fall when riding out for employer David Evans damaged both of her ankles, leaving one in a critical state.
She said: “It’s part and parcel of the game and it was just something that happened at home. It’s not normally best practice to land on your feet, which I did.
“The surgeon did an amazing job saving my ankle as it looked like I’d been in a car crash. It was so badly broken and dislocated too that there was no blood supply to the foot, so they thought they might have to remove it.
“I’d had a real good start to 2019 as well. I’d only be a low-class jockey and I’d struggle to get rides and winners in general, but I’d already had three winners for Dave having only just joined him. In the end, I was in a wheelchair for a couple of months.”
Mangan is perhaps best known for being denied, by the BHA, the chance to ride Diore Lia in the 2017 Derby, the 1,000-1 no-hoper was a non-runner on the day. She spent a total of seven months out of the saddle, and praised the Injured Jockeys Fund for its help in getting her back.
“It’s amazing how well we look after our own,” she said. “It was always in my head that I was going to come back and ride. Worrying, to me, is like a rocking chair – it will give you something to do for a little bit but it won’t get you anywhere.”
Mangan’s victory on Twpsyn in the 1m4f handicap, her second ride back, was extra special as the four-year-old is trained and part-owned, by Evans. She has another ride for him at Kempton on Monday.
“David and Emma were very good for keeping the faith in me because they must have thought I was a write off at times, but they always stuck by me,” Mangan said.
“I love the game so much. I wasn’t bitter about it and what had happened to me, I just wanted to be back.
“I have no goals or set aims at this stage, I’m just going to take every day as it comes and see where it leaves me.”
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