Andrew Adkins has defied expert medical opinion to make his riding comeback at Gosford on Wednesday – just seven months after suffering multiple injuries in a horror race fall.
The talented young jockey was left with a broken leg, ribs, collarbone and punctured lung after a fall at Rosehill last July. His mount, Hot ‘N’ Hazy suffered catastrophic injuries in the incident.
Doctors initially told Adkins he would need to convalesce for at least 12 months but the jockey was having none of that.
Adkins chronicled his inspiring road to recovery through social media and with sheer determination – and a high tolerance to pain – Adkins is making a miraculous return to the saddle five months ahead of schedule with three rides at the Australian Turf Club’s midweek meeting at Gosford.
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“I’m not nervous, all I’m feeling is just pure excitement to be riding in races again,’’ Adkins said. “I’ve worked hard and I can’t wait to get back out there again.
“The doctors did tell me I would need a year off and a few questioned if I could get back to trackwork in January but I think determination and hard work can get you a long way.
“I have given myself just over a month at trackwork now, I’ve probably ridden in 25 barrier trials in that time and I’m pleased with how things are going.
“The body is feeling really good I’m only going to improve with race riding but I feel I am as close as I can to being 100 per cent fit without riding in races.
Andrew Adkins at Rosehill Gardens. Picture: Mark Evans/GettySource:Getty Images
“I don’t want to turn up to the races without being fit enough to be there – I want to give the horses every chance for those trainers and owners who are supporting me.’’
Trainers Chris Waller, Matthew Vella and the Peter and Paul Snowden stable have each given Adkins a chance to mark his long-awaited riding return with a winner.
Adkins will ride for Team Snowden, a stable had has had plenty of success, when he partners Stunning To Win in the Vinery Stud Plate (1100m).
“Hopefully we have found a nice ride for Andrew’s comeback with Stunning To Win,’’ Peter Snowden said.
“Andrew certainly deserves a change of luck. He has had three bad falls and none have been his fault.
“But he has the right attitude. He is getting on with it, working hard and he’s very keen.
“We will definitely support him along the way, always have and always will, and I think everyone in racing is wishing him well.’’
Andrew Adkins on African Daisy after a barrier trial at Canterbury. Picture: Mark Evans/GettySource:Getty Images
Adkins hasn’t ridden a lot previously for the Waller stable but has been rewarded with a ride on Tycoon Hallie in the Robrick Lodge Handicap (1600m).
“I can’t take a lot of credit for Andrew’s booking because it was Tycoon Hallie’s owners, Brad Hunt and Ben Vasallo who suggested we support him,’’ Waller said.
“But that is the type of person Brad and Ben are and it would be great if we can help Andrew get going again.
“I don’t know Andrew that well but he is a hard worker and all the jockeys speak very highly of him.
“Tycoon Hallie is a chance, too. She went terrific on debut and although it is a bit of a jump to the mile, it will suit her.’’
Adkins has ridden a lot for Mea Culpa’s owner, Sir Owen Glenn, including big-race success on the Snowden-trained filly Dame Giselle, so the jockey will feel comfortable putting on the yellow, white checked sash, checked sleeves and cap when partnering the Vella-trained filly in the Hyland Race Colours Plate (1100m).
“Andrew has always ridden for Sir Owen and we keen to support him,’’ Vella said.
“As soon as his father, Brett, rang me to I say Andrew was available, I put him straight on Mea Culpa.
“I decided to run Mea Culpa against the older horses because the two-year-old race is very strong.
Andrew Adkins will make an incredible comeback at Gosford. Picture: Mark Evans/GettySource:Getty Images
“We have the rail to follow which is so important. I will tell Andrew to make sure he gets Mea Culpa out of the gates.
“This horse is very quiet and should do everything right. I think he is a good Wellington Boot-type of two-year-old.’’
So, can Adkins mark his return to race riding with a fairytale comeback winner at Gosford?
The bookies suggest he is a good chance with his first ride, Tycoon Hallie rated a $4.60 chance, Mea Culpa is at $11 and Stunning To Win at $9.
“Tycoon Hallie looked very good through the line at her first start,’’ Adkins said.
“She found a bit of trouble near the 100m and still closed off well. I think stepping up to the mile will suit her as she is a nice relaxed horse.
“Mea Culpa has trialled nicely and drawing the rails is going to help.
“I’ve ridden Stunning To Win trackwork and she is going well.
It would be good if I can get a result first day back. She has also trialled well and is a good chance from the inside barrier. It would be great if we can get a result.’’
Waller juveniles primed for Gosford
Sydney’s premier trainer Chris Waller can continue his stellar two-year-old season when Prasiolite and Gulf Of Aden clash in their race debuts for the ANZ Bloodstock News Plate (1000m) at Gosford.
The provincial track is hosting the Australian Turf Club’s midweek metropolitan meeting with Waller sending a powerful team to Gosford including his pair of juveniles in the opener.
The Hall of Fame trainer has never won a Golden Slipper but this could be the year as he is having arguably his best season so far with his two-year-olds including Shaquero (Magic Millions), Home Affairs (Silver Slipper), She’s All Class and Head Of State.
Prasiolite is a well-bred filly by Written Tycoon out of Waller’s former classy filly, Jade Marauder, winner of the Sweet Embrace Stakes.
Jade Marauder was also Waller’s first-ever runner in the Golden Slipper, contesting the world’s richest juvenile race in 2012 but finishing well back behind champion colt Pierro.
Prasiolite indicated she has inherited her share of ability when she held her own against boom filly Four Moves Ahead in a Rosehill barrier trial two weeks ago.
“I thought Prasiolite was unbelievable in her trial,’’ Waller said.
“I didn’t expect her to go that well.’’
TAB Fixed Odds price assessors didn’t missed Prasiolite’s trial effort and have installed the filly as the $3.90 favourite to make a winning debut.
But Waller’s other runner, Gulf Of Aden, might be over the odds at $10 after his very good trial when a close fourth to stablemate Shaquero, Remarque and Tiger Of Malay in a very strong heat at the recent Rosehill trials session.
Trainers Peter and Paul Snowden have three youngsters entered for the juvenile race – the well-named Amen Corner (she is out of Augusta Proud), Oblique and Congolmerate.
But the Snowden stable’s best winning chance at the Gosford meeting is promising three-year-old filly Salateen, who is $2.60 favourite to bring up a hat-trick of wins in the Street Boss At Darley Handicap (1200m).
Salateen resumed with a dominant win over the same course and distance earlier this month and Peter Snowden said the I Am Invincible filly has trained on well.,
“She went quite well first-up,’’ Snowden said. “The race was run to suit her, they went pretty quick and she sat off them then rounded them up late.
“But she has always shown ability and back to Gosford, although it’s a stronger race, the small field suits and there is some early speed. Hopefully she gets the same sort of run as last start.’’
Originally published asGosford preview: Star jockey’s miraculous comeback
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