Paralysed jockey returns to the saddle

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Freddy Tylicki has returned to the saddle for a riding lesson, four months after an accident left him paralysed from the waist down.

Tylicki was left paralysed after a four-horse pile up at Kempton Park Racecourse on 31 October 2016, but in an interview with BBC Look East said “life goes on and you’ve got to make the most of it” and has managed to return to the saddle.

Speaking about being back on a horse, which is part of his therapy, Tylicki said:

“I started riding racehorses when I was 11 or 12 years of age and it’s like a drug – once you start with it you just can’t stop.”

Prior to his falls, Tylicki had emerged as a rising star in the weighing room last year, and claimed his first Group One victory aboard the James Fanshawe-trained Speedy Boarding at Deauville in the summer. He then managed to gain a second top-level Flat victory on the same horse, winning the Prix de l’Opera on Arc weekend at Chantilly.

Only weeks after his success at Chantilly, Tylicki fell from Nellie Dean at Kempton, an accident that left him with 18 broken ribs, but also T7 paralysis, which meant he no longer had movement in the lower half of his body.

The German-born jockey says he remembers “everything” from the fall, but has no plans to watch a replay of the incident. Instead, he has focused his energy on his recovery.

Tylicki has also backed plans for a new £6 million specialised rehabilitation centre at Newmarket. The centre, which would include a gymnasium, a hydrotherapy pool, and a simulator for the British Racing School in Snailwell Road, would be the Injured Jockeys Fund’s third centre if approved by East Cambridgeshire District Council.

Whilst the news of Tylicki’s injury remind us of the dangers of horse racing, the jockey’s positivity and the £275,000 raised for his support offer some hope, with Cheltenham Fesitval next on the calendar.

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