The hoop veteran rides remarkably on the horse he fell off the Sunshine Coast in December at Dumben on Saturday in his first race since injury.
Respected hoop Michael Cahill admits the thought of giving up riding briefly crossed his mind after his shocking crash on the Sunshine Coast last year, but it didn’t last long as he prepares to return to racing for the first time since December at Doumben on Saturday.
Cahill was left with a C4 fracture in his neck and a broken left shoulder blade after falling off Why We Drink last year, but he says the lure of competitive racing has once again overcome any hesitation about returning to the sport he loves.
Ironically, “Why We Drink” will be the first horse Cahill rides on Saturday after his return, with the jockey saying he has no hard feelings for the horse, calling the fall an incident at the racetrack.
After a slow recovery, Cahill was cleared by specialists on Wednesday and given the green light to return.
“It will be good to go out and compete, that competitive side is always in your blood,” Cahill said.
Jockeys my age like Robbie Fradd and myself, I can’t speak for Robbie but you never plan too far ahead.
“You just enjoy it and accept it for what it is.
“(Retirement) really crossed my mind, but racing hasn’t lost its appeal, I still enjoy clean riding.”
A broken neck would be a major concern, but it doesn’t even count as the worst injury Cahill has suffered while riding.
The veteran was left with a cerebral hemorrhage, a punctured lung and broken ribs after a fall, also in Sunny Beach, in 2000.
“It was serious,” he recalls. “For this I was airlifted to Brisbane, I rode the first winner, I remember leaving for the races in the morning, and I don’t remember anything after that until I woke up in the hospital on Monday morning in Brisbane.
“Having said all this, I was only away for four months.”
After six weeks on tracks and trials, Cahill says he feels like he never quit, but his weight is limited in terms of what he can ride, so he has three rides left on Saturday.
“Losing weight after you put it on is never easy, but I find my fitness to be pretty good,” he said.
“It was like I never left, I remember riding my first horse in the morning when I got back and it was natural, but my muscles didn’t feel like that the next day.
“Obviously I’m a bit lacking in fitness, but I’ve trained and ridden, I’ve ridden about 12 trials.”