Thornton Returns to Racing

Robert Thornton, affectionately referred to as “Choc”, is one of the top jumps riders for the Alan King Yard. In July, a devastating accident while on Hell’s Bay caused serious injury to the ligaments in Thornton’s knee and it was expected that he would take at least a year to recover from his injury. But since the start Thornton had been determined to get back in the saddle as soon as possible, and has managed to recover six months earlier than expected. His return to racing is not only an achievement for the jockey Thornton, but welcome news for the Alan King Yard.

During a beginners chase, which was held at Newton Abbot, Hell's Bay tried to duck away just before a fence, crashing through a wing and unseating Thornton in the process. Scans and x-rays had revealed serious damage to his knee. At the time of the accident Thornton described his injury to the press, saying: "You have four main ligaments in your knee and I have only got one left. They will have to use ligament taken from my left hamstring. I have been told to expect to be out for 12 months and hopefully work back from that. I will be trying my best to make it as near to six months as I can."

Surgery was performed at St. Mary's Hospital, located in Bristol, by Jonathan Webb. After leaving the hospital, Thornton has been doing everything in his power to secure a healthy yet speedy recovery. And it seems to have worked, because as he had previously predicted, it has only taken him six months to recover. He has been riding at Alan King to get back into shape and regain his strength before making his appointment to meet with the medical examiner for the British Horse Racing Authority.

Dr. Michael Turner is the official Chief Medical Officer for the British Horse Racing Authority, and after examining Thornton, has cleared him to resume racing again. Now that Thornton has received the great news, he will have to wait for the weather to clear for racing to resume, commenting, "Unbelievably, after all this time off the weather looks like it might be another week or two, but I can't do anything about that."

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