DANNY COOK, who had been hoping to resume riding at the beginning of next month after fracturing a fibula in a freak accident at Newcastle in mid-November, is facing the grim prospect of being sidelined for the remainder of the season after receiving the shock news that his leg remains broken.
Cook, who rides as number one jockey to Norton trainer Brian Ellison, returned to the saddle when riding-out for his boss over two days early last week and also rode-out for Great Habton’s Tim Easterby.
“It all went well and I felt fine,” he said. “But then I went to see my consultant in Cambridge the following day, hoping he’d give me the all-clear and he told me that the leg was still broken. I’m gutted. It’s very disappointing and it’s looking like this season will be as good as over before I get back.”
Cook explained: “I have been told I have been doing too much on it and I’ve been ordered to give it complete rest for four weeks and then to go back and see him again in six or even eight weeks.”
His accident happened at the start of a bumper when he was kicked by another runner as the field lined up at the start. “It was a right old slap and I wondered straight away whether I’d broken my leg. But I got off and walked and jogged on it, and although I was limping a bit, it didn’t feel like it was broken, so I rode in the race. It gave way a bit on me during the race and, driving home afterwards, it swelled up a lot and when I went to the hospital that night they confirmed the damage.”
Cook is no stranger to being sidelined with major injuries. A bad fall at Wetherby’s Christmas meeting in 2011 left him with a shattered knee which kept him out of action for the best part of seven months.
Facing up to another lengthy spell on the injured list is not one he is relishing, but he realises there is only one course of action.
“I’ve just got to get myself right now, let everything heal properly and look forward to starting afresh again next season. It’s the only thing I can do,” said Cook.
• BRIAN ELLISON continues to fire in the winners. At Market Rasen last Friday, he brought up a hat-trick with Yorkist, who romped home in handicap company to add to his previous two successes at Catterick.
On each occasion, he has been ridden by Nathan Moscrop, whose career has taken an upwards slant since joining the Ellison team.
Yorkist, one of the Gazette & Herald’s ‘Ten to Follow’, is going to find things difficult in the future as the handicapper exacts revenge on him.
But hopes are high that he can continue to pay his way.
Crafty Cookie, another of our ‘Ten to Follow’ opened his winning account in determined style last weekend at Musselburgh for Peter Niven. He looks likely to continue to progress.
• WORK has finally begun on building the Injured Jockeys’ Rehabilitation Centre in Malton – and the man whose name it will bear can hardly contain his excitement.
Jack Berry House, the north’s answer to Oaksey House, has started to become a reality under a building team headed by Huddersfield-based Illingworth and Gregory Ltd, who moved in last week. The single storey state-of-the-art building, which will include a gym, hydrotherapy pool, treatment and fitness rooms and respite accommodation, is expected to be completed before the end of the year to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Injured Jockeys’ Fund.
“They reckon it’ll take 11 months so it should all be finished this year, which would be great,” says Berry. “It’s taken three years to get to this point and I am so excited I can hardly sleep at night. I was there last Friday with my shovel to start digging the footings to kick it all off and I was thrilled to be doing it – it was like riding my first winner all over again.”
Oaksey House, which has been an unrivalled success, opened in Lambourn nearly five years ago and Berry believes that Jack Berry House will complement the Berkshire facility by filling a much-needed gap in North Yorkshire.
“It’s badly needed up here,” he stressed. “Oaksey House is great, brilliant, but it’s a long journey for the northern jockeys to get down there and back, and now they’ll have their own facility. It’ll be a huge boost for the north and is the best thing I’ve ever done in my life.”
Looking at the funding of the centre, Berry said: “There’s been just over £2 million raised already, which is pretty good considering there isn’t a brick laid yet.
“To complete it, and with running costs, we are looking at £3.5 million, but there’s a lot of goodwill out there, a lot of support. It will happen, believe me.”
Lisa Hancock, the Injured Jockeys’ Fund chief executive, said: “We are thrilled that work is starting on Jack Berry House. The support we have received for the project has been staggering and we have ring-fenced £2 million already.
“We are hoping the remaining money required will come from fundraising over the next ten months or so before we open the doors next winter.”
• THE Malcolm Jefferson bandwagon, which has been thundering along at a furious pace since Christmas will aim to deliver a notable winner at Doncaster on Saturday.
Urban Hymn, one of the most exciting horses in Jefferson’s talent-packed Norton yard, is set to line up in the River Don Hurdle, which will see this future chaser stepping into Grade 2 company for the first time.
A runaway winner of a point-to-point before joining Jefferson this season, the gelding, owned by Graham and Jan Calder, who live near Manchester, but who have a holiday home in Ryedale, has won two of his three races this season.
Untroubled to coast home in a bumper on his reappearance at Huntingdon, Urban Hymn finished second at Haydock on his hurdling bow, but made no mistake when returning to the Lancashire venue last month. Never off a tight rein, he came home in splendid isolation, despite not relishing the heavy ground.
“Better ground would suit him,” says Jefferson, who is looking forward to Urban Hymn racing on a sounder surface at Doncaster. He’s a lovely horse.”
Market Rasen last week hosted the latest round of Jefferson winners. The Newstead handler posted a double with Enchanted Garden and Firth Of The Clyde, both partnered by his number one jockey, Brian Hughes.
Also among the winners at Market Rasen was Sheriff Hutton’s Tim Walford, who scored with 12-1 shot Kodicil.
• RICHARD FAHEY may have been thousands of miles away in Dubai, supervising the two horses he is racing in Meydan this winter, but the Malton trainer reached a milestone at Wolverhampton last week.
The debut success of Crisis Averted provided Fahey with his 1,500th Flat winner in Britain. Half an hour later, he took his tally to 1,501, courtesy of Layla’s Oasis, who won the maiden under George Chaloner at 25-1.
Crisis Averted was a first winner of 2014 for Lee Topliss, who, having ridden out his apprentice claim last season, is now operating as a fully-fledged jockey. Hopefully it will be the first of many winners for him in a senior role.
• FINALLY, a heavy cloak of sadness surrounds many in Ryedale’s racing industry, following the sudden passing last week of Sean McGuinness, aged only 24, who died in his sleep.
McGuinness had worked since last spring as pupil-assistant to trainer to John Quinn, who could not speak highly enough of the British Horseracing Authority graduate, who had previously ridden a few winners in Ireland.
“He was a right fellow, with good manners, a bit of nous and a great way about him,” said Quinn. “He was one of those fellas who touched people. He was a great man to have around, nothing was too much trouble for him.”
Quinn added: “He went to bed on Tuesday night and never woke up. The paramedics tried to revive him, but couldn’t. It is a tragedy to lose your life like that at just 24 years of age.
“I broke the news to the lads after first lot and they were devastated. I feel sorry for his poor father and mother, especially as Sean was an only child.”