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No dream win for Toomey on return to riding at Southwell

Jockey Brian Toomey weighs out before riding at Southwell Racecourse.
Image: Jockey Brian Toomey weighs out before riding at Southwell.

Brian Toomey was out of luck on his fairytale return to the saddle after a fall at Perth two years ago left him dead for six seconds, as he had to pull his mount Kings Grey up at Southwell.

Resuscitated but given only a three per cent chance of survival, Toomey, 26, was last month issued with a jockeys' licence after completing a remarkable comeback following the nightmare spill from Solway Dandy on July 4, 2013.

The rider was placed in an induced coma in the high dependency unit of Ninewells Hospital, in Dundee, for two weeks, and had surgery to reduce swelling on his brain, including the removal of part of his skull.

He remained in hospital for 157 nights, but recovered to fulfil every criteria needed from the British Horseracing Authority to ride again.

Toomey's first ride back saw him get the leg-up on Phil Kirby's 11-year-old in the Claim Your Free Bets Now Novices' Selling Hurdle and all appeared to be going to plan as he led at the second flight.

Jumping well in front, it looked like the odds-on favourite would give the racing world the result it wanted, but Kings Grey seemed to lose his action when headed by rivals on the final circuit and was eased and eventually pulled up before the home straight. The race went to 18/1 outsider Daizy.

Toomey said: "I felt relaxed enough, but the horse just didn't feel 100 per cent.

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"It would have been a fairytale to have won, and he looked a good thing on paper, but he just didn't feel right and I couldn't ask him to carry on.

"I've been through the pain barrier and I didn't want him to have to do it. His form over hurdles isn't great and he is a much better chaser.

"I wanted to get today out of the way and get my career back on track.

"I have a point to prove now, I've worked very hard to get here and I wouldn't have got back if it didn't mean the world to me.

"My family have been through hell, they remember when it first happened, but I don't."

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Kings Grey was joined at one stage by Oneofapear, ridden by Brian Hughes, who is a close friend of Toomey.

Toomey said: "It would have been nice to have fought out the finish with Brian today, and when he came up alongside me that's what I was thinking about.

"Being alive is near enough a fairytale, never mind being back riding.

"I maybe didn't set good fractions today, who knows, but it's all a learning curve.

"It's brilliant to be back, but I am glad today is out of the way. Hopefully I will get my career back now.

"The rest of the lads in the weighing room were glad to see me back and I am available now to whoever wants me."

Kirby said of Kings Grey: "I thought he took a lame step on the way back in, but he's trotted up sound in the yard.

"I don't know what's happened, but they are both all right which is the main thing. At the end of the day he is an 11-year-old and still a novice hurdler and he's that way for a reason.

"I had it in the back of my mind something like that could happen. I've got two in a bumper at Uttoxeter this week and Brian will ride one of them."

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