Newman Eyes Comeback

9
Aug

Jockey Lee Newman is eyeing a return to racing after undergoing neck surgery on the weekend.

The Scottish-born rider is recovering at home and hopes to be back in the saddle by the end of the year.

Newman went under the surgeon’s knife after he fractured his neck and back in a fall at Pinjarra six months ago.

“I’m back home recovering and the doctor is happy with how the surgery went,” Newman said.

“It’s rest and recovery for the next couple of months before another round of tests.

“My c2 and c3 vertebra has been fused with a bone graft from my hip.

“The surgeon is confident I will make a full recovery be fully healed.

“When I get the all clear I aim to be back riding by the end of the year.”

Newman had hoped to avoid the surgical option after he was dislodged from Dealing on January 6.

It was his second serious setback after he came close to losing his spleen in an Ascot fall last year.

But with an eye to the future post his riding career, Newman felt he had no other option.

“If I was working in an office it would have been a different story,” Newman said.

“But if I didn’t have the operation I would never have been cleared by the doctors to ever ride a horse.

“The surgeon said if I had another fall and impacted the same area I could end up being a quadriplegic.

“He was happy to sign off only after surgery and is confident I will be able to come back.

“I could accept never riding in a race again, but I still want to be involved with horses.

“I want to be able to ride track work and pre-train horses if and when my riding days are over.”

Newman was crowned Britain’s champion apprentice in 2000 after booting home 87 winners.

Last season he rode nine winners in Perth including two feature victories on I’m Feeling Lucky in the Group 3 La Trice Classic (1800m) and War Room in the Listed Lee Steere Classic (1400m).

Julio Santarelli