From ponies to the real thing for returning Crowley
Jim Crowley returns to action with seven rides on Wednesday
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos) From ponies to real thing for returning Crowley
By Mark Scully 10:10AM 13 DEC 2016
CHAMPION jockey Jim Crowley went back to basics as he recovered from injuries sustained at Kempton in October, riding his children's ponies before getting back on board thoroughbreds.
Crowley has taken a break from riding since breaking his nose in the fall that left weighing room colleague Freddy Tylicki paralysed but returns on Wednesday with seven rides at Lingfield and then back at Kempton.
After claiming his first jockeys championship in 2015 and subsequently bagging the job as Sheikh Hamdan's number one rider, Crowley is now eager to get back in the action and says he is as fit as he can be without race riding.
"I'm really looking forward to getting back," he told Sky Sports News.
"I thought I'd have a nice easy day coming back, I wasn't expecting so many rides but I've got to start somewhere.
"I was laid up for a few weeks [after the fall], I took a bit of a bashing. I started off riding my children's ponies then moved on to the bigger ones. Now I'm back riding out, I've been in the gym and I'm really looking forward to it."
Inspired by Tylicki spirit
While Crowley prepares for his comeback, Tylicki remains in hospital as he continues to receive treatment for the life-changing injuries he sustained and the champion jockey says the stricken rider's attitude in coming to terms with his injuries has inspired him.
Crowley has visited Tylicki in hospital and has kept in regular contact by telephone and said: "He's remarkable really, he's very strong willed and determined. It's an inspiration how he's handled it."
Reflecting on the fall itself, Crowley added: "It was a routine day at Kempton and just one of those things that happens in racing. You get away with it nine times out of ten but Freddy's horse just clipped heels and came down.
"At the time, I didn't realise the severity of it but as time went on, we realised how bad Freddy was and it's just terrible."
Retaining title 'not impossible'
Looking to the future, Crowley once again insisted he has not given up hope of retaining his crown despite the new demands of being a retained rider and says he will approach the new campaign the same way as he did the previous one.
"It's amazing [to get the job]," he said. "When I got the call, I was absolutely delighted. It's going to be a bit different because I'll be riding out for lots of different stables but hopefully I'll be getting on some really nice horses.
"Willie Carson was champion when he was retained, so it's certainly not impossible. I'll do my best to retain it but riding for Sheikh Hamdan is my priority.
"Last year, I didn't think about the championship until after Glorious Goodwood, so it will be much the same this year. We'll get Glorious Goodwood out of the way and see where we are and if we're close enough, we'll give it a go."