PROMISING Warrnambool apprentice jockey Laura Lafferty made a winning return to riding on her first day back in the saddle on Saturday after suffering terrible injuries in a race fall at Swan Hill on June 11.
Lafferty, who had three rides including her winning mount on Just Wishing at Pakenham on Saturday, suffered severe concussion and injured her right shoulder following a race fall from Ronniejay back in June.
The 22-year-old talent said she was relieved the Richard Laming-trained Just Wishing had hung on defeat Sassoon in Saturday's restricted race.
"It's great to be back and to ride a winner is a bonus," she told The Standard. "The win is a great result and a reward for all the hard work that has gone on since the Swan Hill fall. I'm glad the winner was on one of Richard's horses because Ronniejay was one of his horses.
"I'm fully aware I could have sustained far worse injuries in the race fall but they were bad enough. I must admit I was pretty crook for a fair while after the fall.
"The concussion side of things was alarming. I was getting a lot of headaches and was forgetting things and my right shoulder was very sore."
Lafferty said she had received tremendous support from lots of people since the Swan Hill fall.
"I must thank all the medical staff who looked after me they all did a wonderful job," she said.
"My family have been sensational. I've been very lucky to have had great support from the Victoria Jockeys Association and Dr. Gary Zimmerman, my physiotherapist Helen and my manager Liam Prior.
"I'm also grateful for all the messages of support from my friends and people I don't even know. The messages were overwhelming."
Lafferty is not rushing her return to riding she is booked to ride at Warrnambool this Thursday.
"I'm just taking it quietly," she said. "I'm not riding early in the week. I don't want to rush my recovery. I'll ride again at Warrnambool on Thursday."
The former Emmanuel College student has just over two years left in her apprenticeship.
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