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Sammy Jo delighted to be back after lengthy lay-off

By Ashley Iveson

Sammy Jo Bell said it was "great to be back" after returning to gallops action yesterday for the first time in almost seven months.

The highly-rated apprentice, who hails from Dunadry, had to spend several weeks in a wheelchair after undergoing a pelvic operation following a heavy fall at Carlisle last May.

The 25-year-old was unseated when Royal Duchess reared up and then fell on top of her on the way down to the start for a seven-furlong handicap. Initial examinations suggested she had escaped serious injury, but it later transpired Bell required surgery.

She was delighted to be back at Richard Fahey's Yorkshire base and is hoping to return to competitive action next month.

"It's good to get going again. I think I rode eight (horses) this morning, so it was busy enough for my first day back," she said.

"I've been off for seven months, but it actually doesn't feel that long. I've been riding a pony at home, but today was my first time back on a racehorse since May.

"Everything felt good. My arms and legs are a bit like jelly and every horse seemed to be pulling my arms out, but I think that's normal after so long off.

"I'll be a bit stiff and sore for a few days, but I feel good and it's great to be back riding. My aim was to get back riding for the start of the year, so I'm delighted I've been able to do that.

"I want to get a few weeks riding out under my belt and hopefully I'll return to race-riding at the start of February."

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