Martin Harley returns to racing after months out with broken neck

Martin Harley returned to Horse Racing in Australian over the weekend.

The Donegal Jockey was out for several months after suffering multiple fractures including two in his neck in a fall back in January.

The Trentagh native was in a halo for a number of weeks during his recovery period.

Martin made a low-key return at Ipswich on Saturday finishing second on Bohemian Lad, his only ride on the day.

He told Racenet, the accident made him think about life outside of racing.

“The timing has been frustrating but I will take walking again over winning and some other things,” he said.

“It puts it all into perspective, you take things like being able to get out of bed for granted sometimes.

“When you get a proper smash up like I just got, you sit back and think about it a bit, I’m just happy I can walk away from it again.

“I had done my neck once before, the C1 and C2, this time it was C0, C1 and C2, when you get close to bones in your neck, it does get scary and you start to think about it all.”

After doing a power of rehab work, Harley said his determination to get back in the saddle played a role in his swift return.

While he has ambitions to get back to the top level, he is willing to take it slowly to best look after his body.

“Thankfully it seems I’m a pretty good healer, a lot of the specialists and doctors thought it’d be more than four months,” he said.

“I did a decent job of it all, three vertebrates, probably the three most important ones in your neck.

“It has been a good healing process and I have healed well thanks to being looked after by the right people.

“I am doing physio three days a week and I am very pleased with it, the strength seems to be coming back.

“When I got back on the horse, it felt good and there are no real nerves there which is a good sign.

“I just want to start back with one or two, we will start off slowly and build back up.”


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