A JOCKEY who thought he would never ride again after breaking his neck in a horror fall has recorded a miracle winner just one year later.
Irishman Willie McCarthy was rushed to hospital with three broken bones following a devastating fall at a racecourse in Virginia, US, last June.
Footage showed the terrifying moment McCarthy got sandwiched between two horses before crashing to earth in the Flat contest.
That incident came just three years after he broke three ribs, punctured a lung, broke two more bones in his back, smashed another in his foot and suffered a cut that needed ten stitches in another fall.
You think it would be enough to put anyone off racing again.
McCarthy almost had no choice but to quit after his fall in America.
But the 38-year-old has found a new lease of life since landing in Australia.
He celebrated a brilliant win on his debut appearance at Warrnambool track on Sunday.
McCarthy, who won the £54,000 showpiece aboard The Dominator, decided to leave American after no action was brought against the two other jockeys involved in his fall.
It proved a wise move – but even he is stunned he is back in the winners' enclosure just 12 months on.
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Recalling the moment his career looked over, McCarthy told racing.com: "I got sandwiched between two riders.
"I was unconscious with three broken bones in my neck. The ambulance carried me off the course.
"When the stewards took no action against the other riders I made my mind up that I was never going to ride in that country ever again.
"Coming to Australia and winning is the silver lining on my cloud.
"I broke my neck in a really tender area. The doctors where I was treated at John Hopkins are world-renowned but they were unsure if I could ever ride again, never mind race.
"It was nine months' recovery. It was disheartening to think for a while I might not do this again.
"It's amazing to be back here winning a race, I can't believe it.
"It’s absolutely amazing, honestly this time 12 months ago, I was lying on the flat of my back with a broken neck and I didn’t know if I could ever race or ride a horse again."
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