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Optimistic O'Brien progressing well with aim of returning next year

Ana O'Brien: 'I’m definitely getting stronger by the day. I can feel it in everything I do'
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An upbeat Ana O'Brien remains optimistic of making a full recovery from her Killarney horror fall in July and is bubbling with enthusiasm for a potential return next year.

While the apprentice continues to make good progress, Turf Club chief executive Denis Egan said on Wednesday that the inquiry surrounding the circumstances of the Killarney incident will be conducted in "the next week or two".

O'Brien said: "I’m definitely getting stronger by the day. I can feel it in everything I do. I’m starting to do all the normal things again, things I couldn’t do for weeks." 

Looking to the future, she said: "I’ve quizzed the doctors about getting back on a horse. They're not as keen as I am for the moment!

"Hopefully, the neck brace will be coming off next week. I’m doing my best to do as the doctors tell me so everything mends properly, but as soon as I get the all-clear, I can’t wait to get back riding out.

"However, it might be the new year before I get back in the saddle."

Denis Egan: expects 300 samples to be taken from jockeys in 2018

Egan, meanwhile, said: "I've spoken to the relevant parties to get them in and it will definitely be on over the next week or two. It'll be a full look at the incident, a reconvening of the hearing.

"That involves the jockeys who rode in the race" he added, "It could possibly take place at the Turf Club itself or it'll be held on a racecourse."

O'Brien, speaking in a Horse Racing Ireland blog, said she has "watched the fall back a few times" after it resulted in her being airlifted to hospital after sustaining fractured vertebrae in her neck and back and fractures to her cheekbones, among other injuries.

She explained: "I don’t remember a thing about it, but it all looked to happen fast. I have no recollection of the helicopter ride to Cork at all and everything early on was a bit of a blur."

She added: "My face got pretty banged up in the fall too. I broke a couple of teeth and they have still to be fixed. I fractured my eye socket too and my jaw but, like everything else, it’s all healing well."

Oisin Orr: drew level with O'Brien in the race for the apprentices' title only this week

Oisin Orr drew level with O'Brien in the apprentices' championship on Tuesday evening at Dundalk, with O'Brien having led the standings until this week despite being out of action since July 18.

"I was very lucky to be having a good season up until that point and I really appreciate all the support everyone had given me," she said. "It looks like it could go down to the wire for the apprentice title between all the lads.

"It'll make for good competition between them and of course I'm disappointed I won’t be able to give it a go this year, but I was very fortunate to have been in front for part of the season."


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I’ve quizzed the doctors about getting back on a horse. They're not as keen as I am for the moment!
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