BY CHRIS MCNULTY
MARTIN Harley is targeting some big races having recently returned to the saddle following a horrific fall in March.
The Letterkenny-born jockey broke the T1 verterbrae in his neck and fractured four ribs when he was unshipped from the ill-fated Red Art in the Ladbrokes Mobile Handicap at Lingfield Park in May.
Harley was in a neck brace for five weeks, but has had good success since returning at the beginning of the month, riding eleven winners, including the 3/1 shot Moohaarib for Marco Botti at Doncaster on Friday.
Harley was appointed as Bottti’s stable jockey this season, but that fall in Lingfield deprived him of action in some big races – including the Dubai Sheema Classic.
During his recovery, Harley had to walk up and down a swimming pool for half-an-hour per day.
“The main thing is to keep your muscles built up and stay motivated,” he said.
“It definitely helped because on my fourth day back I took seven rides and, while I was tired by the seventh, I managed it OK. It’s great to be riding again and Marco’s horses are running good.”
The 24-year old was treated in East Surrey Hospital and then St George’ Hospital in Tooting, London, following the fall, but he’s just glad to be back doing what he loves.
He said: “We are in between those ropes every day of the week racing and we get away with it most of the time. It was a nasty one, and I was unlucky, but it was no one’s fault.”
Last week, Harley was due aboard Tac De Boistron in the Gold Cup, only for Botti to withdraw the mount on the morning of the race because of the underfoot conditions.
Harley said: “He’d have had a massive chance if the ground had been right.
“We’ll look forward to him later in the season, though, with races like the Goodwood Cup and Irish St Leger possibilities before the French races he ran so well in last year.”
Since his return, five of his eight wins have been for Botti, for whom he rides Suegoo in the Northumberland Plate on Saturday afternoon at Newcastle.
* Martin Harley is a special guest on The Morning Line, which will be broadcast on Channel 4 on Saturday morning from 8 o’clock.
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