Auroras Encore could to return to Sue Smith’s Bingley stables tomorrow to continue his recuperaton following a successful operation to repair a fracture in a leg.
The reigning Grand National winner suffered the career-ending injury to his off-fore during last Saturday’s Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster and underwent surgery on Tuesday to have screws inserted in his off-fore.
The 12-year-old will not race again, but the first Yorkshire-trained winner of the world’s greatest steeplechase since 1960 is said to be making a fine recovery from what was described as a serious injury.
As well as the fracture knitting together, there are always risks when any horse undergoes a general anaesthetic – particularly the nerve-wracking period when they come round from the surgery.
“He’s all okay. He’s said all his bandages and everything taken off and hopefully we are going to pick him up on Sunday morning,” said the trainer who used to ride out Auroras Encore on a regular basis and was in the saddle when the horse paraded at last summer’s Great Yorkshire Show.
“He’s been locally to us at our own vet, down at Haworth vets in Keighley. They’ve done an exceptionally good job. It’s only two miles down the road from us which was a great bonus obviously dealing with him quickly before he had his operation. They have done a very good job and all is well with the horse.”
Smith and her husband Harvey have entered Mr Moonshine and Vintage Star in this year’s National, but their angst this week over Auroras Encore was illustrated by this reaction from stable jockey Ryan Mania who was in the saddle at Aintree.
“I haven’t been thinking ‘oh no, there goes my ride in the National’ - I just want him to be okay,” said the 24-year-old. “It will be good to get him home. He’s going the right way, thankfully, and now all we can do is hope he keeps improving. He’s a hardy old bugger, so he’ll keep fighting.”