Jump jockey Brian Toomey, who made a miraculous comeback to racing after a life-threatening fall, is retiring from the saddle.
The 27-year-old’s last ride is in the first race at Stratford next Tuesday (14 June) aboard City Dreams, who is owned by his friend Brian Dunn and trained by Philip Kirby.
Brian was given a 3% chance of survival after he suffered severe head injuries in a fall at Perth racecourse in July 2013. He was riding Solway Dandy, trained by Lisa Harrison, in a hurdle race when he fell three from home.
He was in an induced coma for over two weeks, after which he underwent surgery to reduce the swelling and pressure on his brain.
A section of his skull was replaced by a metal plate, and after rehabilitation at the Injured Jockeys Fund’s Oaksey House, he returned to racing last July.
“I’ve had barely any rides, so it wasn’t really a hard decision to retire,” Brian told the Racing Post.
He said he put “so much effort into getting back’ but because of the injury “there was always a barrier between owners, trainers and myself.”
The final decision is reported to have been made on the advice of trainer Enda Bolger, who said how much the rider’s family and friends would worry about him every time he raced.
Brian said he was “gutted” about retiring but could now understand why he hadn’t had many rides since his fall.
Retiring is a “big weight off my shoulders”, he said.
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Brian – who had 49 wins over jumps before his accident – is now concentrating on finding a new career in racing.
The meeting at Stratford clashes with Royal Ascot but race-goers may be able to watch the St James Palace Stakes on a big screen.
The race at 2.20pm is the first of six, with the last at 5.20pm.