Leading amateur jockey Gina Andrews scored a hat-trick on her first day back race riding after a nasty fall at Cheltenham in December.
Gina, 29, fractured her cheekbone and eye socket, and injured her liver, in a fall in a hurdle race on 11 December.
She required surgery on her face and has since made a full recovery, and has been riding out at home for weeks ahead of her racecourse return.
The seven-times ladies’ point-to-point national champion claimed three victories and a clutch of placings at Charing on Monday (29 March), on the first day of amateur sport’s restart.
“It was a really good day, it’s just so nice to be back — all the hard graft for god knows how long is finally paying off,” she said.
“It’s like I’ve never been away, it’s been so long it’s almost like nothing happened to me. I was ready to come back on 1 February, but because amateurs weren’t allowed it’s taken so much longer.”
All wins were from Gina’s home yard, which she shares with trainer husband Tom Ellis. Her first win of the day came in the four- and five-year-old maiden aboard the Time Please, bought as a foal, who was making his racecourse debut.
“He sadly didn’t grow as big as we would have liked him to, but it’s not really stopped him — he has always jumped really well and he’s a very straightforward little horse,” she said.
Young Rich, sourced from Sam Curling in Ireland, gave Gina a quickfire double in the six-year-old and over maiden, with the Odd Socks Partnership’s General Arrow a surprise winner in the conditions race to take her tally to three.
“I can’t believe he won, to be honest. He was on a bit of a comeback mission,” said Gina. “He had a really good year the season before last, then last year was a disaster.”
She explained a few things had gone wrong, including an uncharacteristic fall at Kimble in November 2020 (“very unlike him”), so they tried a change of riding tactics and the 13-year-old gelding responded to get his head in front of Sparkleandshine.
Article continues below…
You might also be interested in:
Gina Andrews told H&H she is "on top of the world" after riding five winners in one day in front
If you want to keep up with the latest from the equestrian world without leaving home, grab a H&H subscription
Gina, who continues her season with two rides at Maisemore today (Tuesday) ahead of a busy Easter weekend of pointing, is also targeting Aintree Foxhunters’ in 10 days’ time with Latenightpass. The eight-year-old gelding, trained by Tom and bred by his mother, Pippa Ellis, finished fourth in the Cheltenham Foxhunter earlier this month with Gina’s sister, professional jockey Bridget, in the saddle.
The yard also scored two wins at Revesby Park yesterday, with Jack Andrews first past the post in the intermediate on Benefaktor and the restricted with Black Jasper.
Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade to access our H&H Plus online service which brings you breaking news as it happens as well as other benefits.