Millie Wonnacott returns: Jockey back in saddle almost two years after breaking neck at Cheltenham Festival

Millie Wonnacott

Millie Wonnacott has by no means wished to be something aside from a jockey and it’s that dedication and spirit that noticed her make a miracle return to the saddle on Sunday, virtually two years after breaking her neck on the Cheltenham Pageant.

The 25-year-old has had an extended street to restoration after what simply may have been a career-ending fall from Kansas Metropolis Chief within the Pertemps Ultimate in March 2021.

A promising rider on the time, with 23 victories from 118 rides over jumps, Wonnacott suffered two fractures to her C1 vertebra, leaving her in a neck brace for six months.

Quite a few journeys to Oaksey Home – the Injured Jockeys Fund’s rehabilitation centre in Lambourn – adopted earlier than Wonnacott was lastly in a position to get aboard Michael Blake’s Clearance at Southwell, with the 50/1 shot coming house tenth of the 12 runners.

Reflecting on her damage and restoration, Wonnacott advised Sky Sports activities Racing: “It is just about the scariest bone you possibly can break. Fortunately for me, I by no means had any spinal wire or nerve issues, which was millimetres away from taking place.

“Fortunately it did heal – but it surely was contact and go if it was going to.

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Coach Scott Dixon and his group landed a pleasant pay day as debutant Rose King was backed in from 28/1 to fifteen/2 earlier than scoring at Southwell.

“A number of physio and work has gone into me from everybody at Oaksey Home [Injured Jockeys Fund’s rehabilitation centre] and hundreds have been spent on my restoration.

“It was an extended, outdated graft given we did not know what was going to come back on the finish of it however fortunately it is all labored out.”

Requested if she ever doubted making a return to driving, Wonnacott added: “Some medical doctors have been saying I want to determine what I wish to do with my life however I could not consider a single factor. We’re born and bred on horses and that is the one factor that makes me completely satisfied in life, it appears.

“I knew if I did not give the flat a go I might kick myself sooner or later so I am right here.”

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