Irish jockey Brian Toomey back in saddle two years after near-fatal injury

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By Kevin Murphy

Irish jockey Brian Toomey was given a three per cent chance of survival after suffering serious head and brain injuries following a fall at Perth in July 2013.

The Limerick native completed his amazing recovery by getting back in the saddle at Southwell yesterday.

His story of perseverance and determination captured the hearts of sports fans across both sides of the Irish Sea.

Toomey was applauded into the parade ring but there was no fairytale return as his mount King’s Grey was pulled up.

“I feel very good but the horse didn’t feel that great so I wasn’t going to put him through any hardship. Unfortunately it wasn’t a fairytale ending, but never mind.

“Just being alive is a fairytale ending, never mind being back on a horse. Now this is over and done with, I can hopefully get my career back on track.”

The Croom native was supported by his family who travelled over for the emotional return and his sister Áine spoke on their behalf.

“It was nerve-wracking actually, with the build-up to today and Brian himself was very hopeful. If the horse had won it would have been a fairytale ending.

“To us this is a fairytale ending. He’s got up on a horse and succeeded and achieved his dream and we’re so proud of him that he’s persevered.”

Toomey spent 157 nights in hospital and following his rehabilitation it inititally seemed certain that his riding career was finished.