Miracle man Brian Toomey hails his fairytale return
Brian Toomey may not have got the win he craved on his fairytale return to riding but the inspirational jockey was just glad to be back in the saddle at Southwell two years on from a fall at Perth that left him dead for six seconds.
Resuscitated but given only a three per cent chance of survival, Toomey, 26, was last month issued with a licence after he was thrust on to the sidelines following the frightful 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.
Toomey's first ride back saw him get the leg-up on Phil Kirby's 11-year-old Kings Grey in the betbonus.com Novices Selling Hurdle and all appeared to be going to plan as he led at the second flight.
Jumping well from there, it looked like the odds-on favourite would give the racing world the result it wanted, but he seemed to lose his action 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.
"It would have been a fairytale to have won, and he looked a good thing on paper, but he just didn't feel right.
"I've been through the pain barrier and I didn't want him to have to do it.
"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."
Kings Grey was joined at one stage by Oneofapear, ridden by Ulsterman Brian Hughes, who is a close friend of Toomey.
Toomey said: "It would have been nice to have fought out the finish with Brian, and that's what I was thinking about."
He added: "Being alive is near enough a fairytale, never mind being back riding."