Daryl Jacob: I thought my leg was going to fall off [H&H VIP]

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  • It was a tough Festival — but that’s Cheltenham all over. It’s a very hard few days, both mentally and physically, and I definitely had my share of highs and lows.

    There’s so much preparation going into Cheltenham that obviously the pressure is greater.

    On Thursday, I was beaten by a nose on Southfield Theatre by Richard Johnson and Fingal Bay [comment, 20 March]. It is always incredibly frustrating, but you just have to get on with it.

    You can’t dwell on things, otherwise it affects your riding the next day. And Friday was certainly a mixed day.

    When the stirrup leather broke on Calipto [in the Triumph Hurdle, when he was the favourite], I just thought, “Seriously, this can’t be happening.”

    However, I then won my next race on Lac Fontana, which was the definite highlight of my week. But racing is unpredictable.

    For the next race, I was cantering down to the start and Port Melon just locked his jaw and ran blind. It all happened very quickly, I couldn’t steer him left and then couldn’t get him right.

    To be honest, I thought he was going to stop, or at least veer away, but he ran straight into the railing and threw me against the TV camera, breaking my left leg and knee on that. Then when I fell on to the concrete, I broke my elbow.

    At first I thought I was fine and that I was just sore, because I was already thinking about my next ride. I didn’t have one until the 5.15pm, so I thought, “That’s OK, plenty of time to recover.”

    But the paramedics thought differently and wouldn’t let me get up, even though I argued, which is a good job, really.

    It was a freak accident and I’m lucky — it certainly could have been worse.

    I’ve had so many get well cards, messages and visitors and a big thank you to everyone for that — it’s really boosted my mood and helped to get me through.

    I’d also like to thank Cheltenham racecourse, the medical team and all my fellow jockeys for their support.

    Loads of people have come to visit too. There was racing at Wincanton — my local course — on Sunday, so lots of the lads popped in on their way to and from racing.

    Some days are worse than others, but I’m not doing so badly. I had a terrible spell recently, I was in absolute agony and thought my leg was going to fall off.

    There’s not much I can do at the moment either, bar lie on the sofa. I’m not in a cast but have a leg brace on, so I have some mobility.

    I’ve been watching a programme called Obese: A Year To Save My Life, which is fascinating. It stars fitness and weight loss expert Jessie Pavelka, who talks to obese people and strips it back to the problems behind their eating.

    I’d love to work as something like that — maybe with overweight kids at schools — because health and fitness are so important.

    I left the house for the first time on Monday and saw some owners. It was a beautiful sunny morning and it was great to get some fresh air.

    My mum came over from Ireland for a week and it was great having her, as she could help look after my son Harry while Kelly [my wife] looked after me.

    I’m going to see the specialist next Monday, so I’ll know more then about the recovery process and what the timescale is like. At the moment I don’t know how long I’ll be off.

    It’s going to be tough watching the Aintree meeting and Grand National on TV this year. I’d much rather be there riding and so it’s frustrating, especially as Paul Nicholls has some nice chances.

    He has Tidal Bay [don’t miss H&H’s profile next week, 3 April] and Rocky Creek in the National, and I’d definitely have been on one of those two — both have a good shot, so it’s particularly disappointing.

    It’s always nice being a part of the end of the season and helping towards the trainers’ championship. However, this year I’ll be cheering them all on from the sofa.