Jake Noonan on Comeback Trail

The last time Victorian apprentice Jake Noonan went to the races he rode a winner, had two horses finish second, and he won the jockey challenge. He also had a nasty fall that had many fearing the worst.

Noonan’s fall occurred on May 7 at Flemington. Ironically, he was aboard the Lee Freedman trained Safe.

The fall was one of the worst seen at a racetrack for some time. It left the young apprentice drifting in and out of consciousness for period of three days. Noonan’s close friend jockey Daniel Schmidt later said he thought his close mate had died on the track.

“I can totally understand. I hit the ground that hard. To come out of it without a broken bone and just a little bruising to the brain, which healed within a week, is amazing,” said Noonan.

Doctors have been amazed with the speed of Noonan’s recovery. Less than a month ago he could not stay awake for extended periods of time and was suffering bleeding on the brain. Yesterday he was giving interviews to the press.

“To get away with what I did was unbelievable. The first thing I remember after the fall was waking up three days later and my mum saying ‘Jake, you’ve had a bad fall at Flemington. You’re at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, You’re going to be OK’.” Noonan Said.

Noonan was scheduled to be out of hospital by the end of next week, but his improvement has been so rapid, doctors will release him today, a full week ahead of schedule.

“I feel fantastic now, back to normal. I feel better than I did before the fall. My core strength has never been so good. I’ve been doing that much work in the pool I reckon I can give Thorpie a run for his money.” Noonan said.

The fall could not have come at a worse time for Noonan, who was scheduled to ride in England for six weeks for trainer Andrew Balding.

Noonan cannot resume light riding duties for another few weeks, but he remains hopeful that he will still get a chance to ride in England before the end of the flat racing season in November.

Noonan, who is hoping to get a medical clearance to ride by the start of July said that fear would not be a factor when he gets back into the saddle.

“It’s not going to stop me, it’s not going to stop the way I ride, the way I present myself or the reputation I’ve built for myself.”

“To me it’s just been a little holiday. In a couple of months I’ll be back and hopefully I’ll pick up where I left off.” Noonan said.

Noonan is the leading Victorian apprentice for the 2010/11 season with 86 wins. He has ridden a total of 156 winners in less than two years.