Ever the optimist, leading bush jockey jockey Mathew Cahill considers him very lucky after a race fall left him with a C1 vertebrae facture last Friday.
While currently bed-ridden, Cahill has full movement and is expected to make a full recovery from the injury with a specialist at Sydney's Royal North Shire Hospital expected to fit him with a halo brace on Wednesday.
The Cowra-based Cahill, a stalwart of racing in the western area, fractured the vertebrae and a thumb at Canberra's Thoroughbred Park last Friday and was taken to Woden Hospital after falling from the Jack Van Duren-trained Shafted Hero.
Shafted Hero suffered a shattered leg after appearing to stumble and was struck from behind by Sing for Stella (Ellen Hennessy), which was unable to avoid the stricken galloper between the 300 and 400 metre mark in the Greenwood Tiling Plate (1000m).
Shafted Hero was euthanised while Hennessy missed the rest of the meeting after complaining of dizziness.
After the fall Cahill was treated by paramedics at the track and taken to Woden Hospital before being transferred to Royal North Shore Hospital on Sunday morning.
Speaking from his hospital bed on Monday, Cahill said a specialist was planning to fit him with a halo brace on Wednesday.
The brace is used to immobilize and protect the cervical spine and neck after surgery or accident.
A ring that surrounds the head the halo is attached by pins to the outer portion of the skull.
The specialist, he said, had decided against surgery at this stage and Cahill expects to be released from hospital in the next week.
The halo vest in expected to be fitted for at least three months with Cahill out of the saddle for a minimum of a further three months when it is removed.
Former top Sydney rider Glen Boss suffered a similar injury to his C2 vertebrae in a race fall in Macau in 2022 and was also fitted with a halo brace.
"There are only two ways this break goes and the alternative is not very good," Boss said following his fall.
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