Injured H&H columnist Choc Thornton to miss Cheltenham Festival

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  • H&H columnist Robert “Choc” Thornton will miss the Cheltenham Festival next week after being sidelined with a broken arm and three fractured vertebrae.

    The 34-year-old, stable jockey to Alan King’s Barbury Castle Stables near Marlborough, sustained the injuries in a fall at Southwell on Monday (4 March).

    The horse he was riding, Our Phylli Vera, fell at the third last fence in a hurdle race.

    “It was an innocuous fall but I got steamrollered from behind [by another horse],” said Choc.

    “I got to my feet, and [fellow jockey] Ger Tumelty drove me home. I had some supper that evening but was fairly sore, so I went to hospital in Cheltenham that night and had X-rays on my arm, pelvis, chest and back.”

    Choc missed two months of the 2011-12 jumps season with a fractured right arm, and tests showed that he had broken the same arm — within the plates used to fix the previous fracture, so no displacement occurred.

    “I wanted to explore whether I could still ride, as the plate is holding it there,” said Choc. “But X-rays on my back showed three minor fractures to transverse processes.

    “It’s not as serious as it sounds. My arm isn’t plastered and I will probably be out for two months.

    “I’m bitterly disappointed to miss Cheltenham and Aintree, but I’m not going to rush the recovery. I want to be fully fit and ready for next season.”

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