BRAVE Warrnambool jumps jockey Braidon Small is one step closer to resuming riding trackwork after a seven-hour operation to reduce a brain tumour in June and months of radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment.
The father of two young children said he was feeling positive following a CT scan on Thursday, November 23, 2023.
Associate Professor Martin Hunn, who led the surgical team at Melbourne's The Alfred hospital, has notified Small he would now forward documents to Racing Victoria's medical team that he could resume trackwork riding.
Racing Victoria must give the final approval for Small to ride trackwork.
"It's looking really positive that I'll be able to ride trackwork again," Small told The Standard.
"It's up to the medical team at Racing Victoria to tick it off once they get the documentation from The Alfred.
"I reckon I'll do cartwheels once they give the final approval.
"My long-term aim is to be back race riding in March and I really want to ride at the 2024 Warrnambool May Carnival.
"The CT scan has shown the fluid in the surgical area has reduced.
"The last six months have been pretty ordinary. I had the operation and then six weeks of intense radiotherapy at The Alfred.
"I had a month off after the radiotherapy and now I'm on a course of chemotherapy tablets.
"They told me I'll be on the chemo tablets for a year. I have them for a week and then I'm off them for three weeks.
"I've been very lucky my medical team headed by Mr Hunn have done a sensational job."
Small, who started riding in jumps races in 2012, said he had been overwhelmed with the support he and his family had received since he was first diagnosed with the brain tumour in 2019.
"It's been incredible how many people have been there to help me and my family," he said. "I've had total strangers in Warrnambool ask how I'm going and they say 'can they help out in any way' which just blows you away."
Small has ridden 42 jumps winners with his biggest success on Two Hats in the 2018 Warrnambool Galleywood Hurdle.