ANDREW Thornton insists his riding career is not over after learning he will be sidelined for around four months by the injury that tempered his 1,000th career success at Wincanton on Boxing Day.
The weighing-room veteran hurt a knee when he turned sharply after dismounting from the Seamus Mullins-trained Kentford Myth in the winner’s enclosure following his landmark triumph.
Thornton was initially hoping to be back in action in a matter of weeks, but has now discovered the injury is more serious than first thought.
“It’s a bit of a blow,” said the North Yorkshire jockey. “I was aiming to be back next week, but this has blown that out of the water, unfortunately. I’m having an operation to reconstruct my ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) on Tuesday. It’s basically non-existent at the moment and that’s what caused the knee to give way.
“It’s not happened overnight, it’s obviously got progressively worse over the 10,000 rides that I’ve had.”
While the 44-year-old could retire a happy man after finally realising the ambition he craved so much, he is adamant he will return to the saddle.
“I know the end is in sight, but I’ll definitely get back,” said Thornton.
“When I got off at Wincanton and thought I’d tweaked my knee and would be out for a few days, I told everyone I wouldn’t retire there and then and nothing’s changed. You couldn’t believe something like this would happen. It will probably be the back end of May before I’m back. This is 100 per cent not the end.”