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Jody Townend completes comeback from serious injury with big Galway win

The 21-year-old steered the Willie Mullins-trained mare home.

Jody Townend and Great White Shark celebrate after winning this evening.
Jody Townend and Great White Shark celebrate after winning this evening.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

JODY TOWNEND, YOUNGER sister of Ireland’s champion jump jockey Paul Townend, was the star of the show on the first night of the Galway festival when landing the Connacht Hotel Amateur Riders Handicap on Great White Shark, only nine months after suffering serious back injuries.

The 21-year-old brought the Willie Mullins-trained mare, a well-supported 8-1 shot, on the outside from well off the pace to land the feature race by a length and three-quarters.

Townend had a schooling fall at Mullins’ yard in October and after her victory she outlined just how badly she was injured.

She said: “I broke my T12 vertebrae. I had to get six screws and two rods put in and a stabiliser as the fracture was on my spinal cord. I was supposed to be back riding in February but my back started weeping and I ended up having to have three operations in total.

“The infection went into the bone and I was on a drip for six weeks. But that’s all in the past now. To win this race is unbelievable – it’s some buzz.”

- Brian Sheerin; for more visit the Racing Post

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