Star jockey Brenton Avdulla still sidelined with serious neck injury

Brenton Avdulla is hopeful of a return to race riding in January as he continues his recovery from serious injury.

Star jockey Brenton Avdulla doesn’t expect to return to race riding until the New Year as he continues to recover from a serious neck injury.

Avdulla suffered an undisplaced fracture of his C7 vertebra in the base of his neck when he was involved in a horror fall from the ill-fated Xtremetime in the Silver Shadow Stakes at Randwick last August.

The former premier Sydney jockey and multiple Group 1 winner was forced to spend the spring on the sidelines while two horses he was booked to ride, Private Eye and Think It Over, had very successful race campaigns.

Avdulla was hoping to return to the saddle this month but told The Daily Telegraph his comeback is likely to be delayed until January.

“I’ve got scans in a couple of weeks which will tell me more but I’d say a return won’t be until the new year,” Avdulla said.

“I’m walking around with no issues but if I have a busy day, then at night my neck hurts a bit.

“I still can’t train; I can’t do anything at all – I just have to wait for the bone to heal.”

The Silver Shadow Stakes fall was at the same meeting Avdulla was booked to ride Private Eye and Think It Over in their new season returns to racing.

Private Eye won the Show County Quality that day with Jay Ford called up as a late replacement before the gelding trained on to win the Group 1 Epsom Handicap later in the spring.

Think It Over was ridden by substitute jockey James Innes Jnr when a close first-up sixth to Mo’unga in the Winx Stakes before going into to win the Chelmsford Stakes, Hill Stakes, Craven Plate, Rosehill Gold Cup and a $1 million bonus during a dominant Sydney spring campaign.

“The first few weeks were a bit hard watching Private Eye and Think It Over winning those big races,” Avdulla said. “It was disappointing to miss out on those opportunities.”

But Avdulla has consoled himself by spending valuable time with his young family.

Avdulla’s wife, Taylor, is due to give birth to the couple’s second child in the next three weeks or so while their son, Hunter, will celebrate his second birthday on December 1.

“Taylor is heavily pregnant and we are on baby watch now so it’s an exciting time for our family,” Avdulla said.

Meanwhile, jockey Keagan Latham is recovering well from serious neck and back injuries sustained in a Hawkesbury fall just days before the Avdulla incident.

Latham was found to have suffered fractures in his neck and back, and also broke his collarbone, when his mount, Who Loves To Dance, fell mid-race.

The talented jockey has further tests next Wednesday where he is hoping for a specialist’s clearance to resume trackwork riding immediately.

Originally published as Brenton Avdulla still recovering from a serious neck injury while Keagan Latham is close to a return

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