Thornton vows to come back from four-month layoff
Andrew Thornton celebrates his 1,000th win on Kentford Myth
PICTURE: Matthew Webb Thornton vows to return from four-month layoff By Graham Dench 3:08PM 20 JAN 2017
SIDELINED jockey Andrew Thornton is facing four months off the track, a much longer period than was first anticipated, but the 44-year-old has vowed to return to the saddle.
Gold Cup winner Thornton hoped he would be out for weeks rather than months after he suffered a knee injury in the winner's enclosure after securing a long awaited 1,000th win on Kentford Myth for his long-time supporter Seamus Mullins at Wincanton on Boxing Day.
However, the injury is more serious than was appreciated and he will have anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction surgery on Tuesday, followed by a likely four-month recovery period.
Many will wonder if he will come back from such an injury now that his goal has been achieved, but while Thornton admits he will be looking to his future while sidelined, he still intends leaving on his own terms.
'I might be a stubborn old goat'
He confirmed: "I am having ACL reconstruction on Tuesday and will be off for around four months, but I will be coming back. Anyone who thinks I won't doesn't know me.
"People will say I'm a stubborn old goat, and they might be right, but with an injury like this I need a goal to focus on to get myself back fitter, stronger, better.
"I've spoken to Seamus and he says he'll have some ready when I return. He didn't even ask the question."
Thornton believes the ligament problem explains why his knee gave way when he turned to talk to connections after dismounting at Wincanton.
'Not an operation to take lightly'
He explained: "The reason the injury happened was because the ACL collapsed and the cartilage gave way. If you saw me you would think I was as sound as a pound, but Mr Hunt, a knee specialist in York's Nuffield Hospital, said I needed it doing because the ACL is basically not doing any kind of a job.
"It's not an operation you take lightly, as they have to take a bit off the back of the hamstring and attach it to the cruciate, but while I'm all right in a straight line it's just not functioning."
Thornton will not be idle while recuperating. He said: "I will be in hospital for one day and then on crutches for a few more, but then after that I start the rehab. I'm already booked to work for Radio 5 at Cheltenham and Aintree and I'll definitely be at both meetings.
"I'm not stupid though and while the goal is to get back and ride, I will be planning for the future while I'm off."
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