After spending more than three months on the sideline with a hip injury, Group One winning jockey Nick Hall is back to full fitness and looking forward to a bumper Melbourne spring carnival of racing.
Hall’s layoff was not caused by a fall or trackwork accident, instead he was forced out for an extended period because of a painful hip condition which required delicate surgery.
“I had a hip impingement. I was born pretty much not to ride. When I got into the riding position, the end of my femur was grabbing on to part of my hip joint,” Hall said.
“It would click and it would be right again but it was continual wear and tear because of that and it wore the cartilage out and basically it was bone on bone so they reshaped my femur bone so it fits better and hopefully the problem wont re-occur.”
Hall said that while he was able to continue riding under duress with the condition, he decided to get the operation in the interests of the longevity of his career.
“When you are in the moment and riding you don’t think about it, but when I had to back up and ride on a Sunday I’d be getting around with a limp and it would be really tight so it was affecting my riding,” he said.
A three month layoff would be career suicide for suicide for some jockeys, and while Hall admits his weight did balloon, he has his weight under control ahead of his return to Flemington on Saturday.
“I knew it was going to be three months so I let it slide and I got stuck into a few hamburgers and I got up to 62kg, but I’m down to 55kg and riding at 55kg,” Hall said.
Hall’s first ride back on a metropolitan track will be aboard the Robert Hickmott trained At First Sight in the Group Three Aurie Star Handicap over 1200m.
The lightly raced five year old, who is owned by Lloyd Williams has had just seven starts, however they have come in some high class races in England.
He ran second to the highly rated Workforce in the Group One Epsom Derby in June last year, and managed to beat home Rewilding – who so far is the only horse to beat So You Think since he moved to the UK. He has also been placed in a Group Two and a Group Three race.
At $61.00, punters aren’t giving the former Aidan O’Brien trained horse much of a chance, however it will be an interesting indicator as to how the horse will fare throughout the rest of the spring carnival.
Hickmott has nominated At First Sight for the Caulfield Cup, and during the week he received a handicapper rating of 105, which puts him on the same level as Drunken Sailor, Moudre, Mourayan and Toorak Toff.
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