Thornton: this is not the end
Andrew Thornton insists his riding career is not over after learning he will be sidelined for around four months by the injury that tempered his 1,000th career success at Wincanton on Boxing Day.
Andrew Thornton insists he will return to the saddle
The weighing-room veteran hurt a knee when he turned sharply after dismounting from the Seamus Mullins-trained Kentford Myth in the winner's enclosure following his landmark triumph.
Thornton was initially hoping to be back in action in a matter of weeks, but has now discovered the injury is more serious than first thought.
"It's a bit of a blow," said the jockey. "I was aiming to be back next week, but this has blown that out of the water, unfortunately.
"I'm having an operation to reconstruct my ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) on Tuesday. It's basically non-existent at the moment and that's what caused the knee to give way.
"It's not happened overnight, it's obviously got progressively worse over the 10,000 rides that I've had.
"I went to see the knee specialist in York, Mr Hunt, on Wednesday and thankfully I'm having the operation next week, which is great.
"The sooner I start rehab the sooner I'll be back."
While the 44-year-old could retire a happy man after finally realising the ambition he craved so much, he is adamant he will return to the saddle.
"I know the end is in sight, but I'll definitely get back," said Thornton.
"When I got off at Wincanton and thought I'd tweaked my knee and would be out for a few days, I told everyone I wouldn't retire there and then and nothing's changed.
"You couldn't believe something like this would happen. If someone made a film about it you wouldn't believe it – you'd say it's too far fetched!"
He went on: "Right now I'm just focussed on having the operation, starting rehab and coming back stronger than before.
"I spoke to Seamus the other day to tell him the news and he told me he'd have some horses ready for when I come back. He didn't even ask the question (about retirement).
"It will probably be the back end of May before I'm back. This is 100 per cent not the end."
Thornton plans to keep himself busy during his spell on the sidelines, adding: "I'm working at Cheltenham and Aintree for Radio 5, so that's something to look forward to as well."
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