Tuesday, 18 August 2009
A jockey who has defied medical advice to ride again and a horse brought out of retirement will be trying to make the most of second chances at Randwick on Saturday.
Damian Browne, who rides with a steel rod in his leg, will continue an association with comeback galloper Court Command in the Warwick Stakes.
“I’ve never ridden in Sydney so it will be a fantastic opportunity,” the 36-year-old Caloundra-based jockey said.
Trainer Liam Birchley tried to book a leading Sydney jockey for the weight-for-age race but when his search was unsuccessful, he turned to Browne for a second time.
Browne rode replaced Hong Kong-based jockey Zac Purton on Court Command in the Stradbroke Handicap and he was in the saddle when the stallion lumped 60.5kg to a first-up Eagle Farm win last week.
A Sydney weight-for-age victory would cap a remarkable comeback for both horse and jockey.
“About three years ago I smashed my leg in a fall and had two plates and 17 screws inserted,” Browne revealed.
“I was out for two years and then three weeks after coming back I broke the same leg in a different place and I was out for 10 months.
“The doctors told me to give racing away because they reckoned my leg wouldn’t stand up to the rigors of riding but I was determined to ride again.
“As it is now, I can only take four rides at a meeting while I’ve got the rod in my leg.”
Browne has ridden two Group I winners, highlighted by his 1996 South Australian Derby success on the Victorian-trained Cheviot.
He thinks Court Command is going well to put him back in the national spotlight in the Group II Warwick Stakes.
“Obviously he beat moderate opposition last week but he carried weight and he ran good time,” Browne said.
“Court Command likes to dictate and looking at the noms I think Liam has found the right race for him.”
A six-year-old, Court Command, the 2006 Golden Rose winner and a Caulfield Guineas placegetter in the same year, stood one season at stud in Queensland before his racing career was resurrected under Birchley’s care with instant success in the BTC Sprint at Doomben in May