AMY RYAN considered giving up riding after a horror fall at York left her with severe shoulder injuries – but the jockey said horses like Blaine made her return worthwhile after the pair clinched the Symphony Group Stakes at York Racecourse today.
The life-threatening injuries suffered by then boyfriend Brian Toomey last July, left in a coma and with swelling on the brain after coming off Solway Dandy at Perth, were swiftly followed by a life-changing event for Ryan on Knavesmire.
She was trampled by hooves after being unseated when the saddle slipped on Bogart in the Sky Bet Dash at last year’s Music Showcase Saturday and Ryan confessed the double tragedy had made her question whether she wanted to remain in the profession.
“I had a heavy fall and, after what I’d seen last year, it hadn’t really helped,” she said. “When you see things like that it puts you off. It took me a long time to get over what happened here last year.
“Dad (trainer Kevin Ryan) let me decide when I wanted to come back and I came back when I felt the time was right.”
The shoulder may have healed, as Blaine (12-1) beat off Move In Time in a photo finish to claim the spoils in the £50,000 five-and-a-half furlong contest, but Ryan is not out of the woods yet.
A fall on a two-year-old at home means she continues to ride in pain.
“It’s still not great,” she said. “I need surgery on my ankle ligaments. It doesn’t take much to get sore again.
“I still ride out every morning but there is a lot more pressure when you ride a race. My leg swells quite a bit.”
She continued: “It took a long time to come back but horses like that and days like this make it worthwhile.”
Kevin Ryan added: "I'm delighted for Amy. It's been a long road back since her injury and she's proven she can still do it on the big stage."
Of Blaine, he said: "He was a real good two-year-old but then struggled last year.
"It's great for the owners as they had to be really patient and I told them he would come back. They never lose their ability."
The Neptune Investment Management Great Voltigeur Stakes suffered a blow when hot favourite Kingston Hill was a late withdrawal.
The St Leger may still be on the agenda for him but Postponed, the winner of York’s mile-and-a-half trial for next month’s Classic, will probably not be on his way to Doncaster.
The three-year-old (5-2 favourite) won easily enough, eased down to score by two-and-a-quarter lengths over Snow Sky.
But trainer Luca Cumani said: “He did very well. I don’t really want to run him any further than this. He’s a mile-and-a-half horse. He is not in the Leger.
“My inclination would be not to stretch him over a mile and three-quarters.”