Former jockey Brian Toomey ready for the next challenge as a trainer

Former jockey Brian Toomey ready for the next challenge as a trainer

Jockey Brian Toomey in action in the Lord Hemphill Memorial Handicap Chase. Picture: Healy Racing

MIRACLE-MAN Brian Toomey has fought plenty of battles over the past seven years, the 31-year-old former professional jockey is ready to do battle once again.

His fight this time is to obtain his own training facility in the UK where he has been based ever since finishing his Leaving Cert.

Toomey’s first battle was for his life, seven years ago this July the Croom native suffered horrendous head injuries following a crashing fall at Perth racecourse.

He was informed by his medical team that he was essentially dead for six seconds at one point after the horrific incident on July 4, 2013, when he and his mount Solway Dandy parted company in a tired-looking fall at the third-last in a hurdle race.

Toomey fought hard for survival during his 157 days in hospital part of which he spent in an induced coma. He remembers nothing of the life-changing moment when, three flights from the finish in the 5pm handicap hurdle aboard Solway Dandy, the horse suddenly emptied, crashing to the ground, and taking the talented rider with it.

Brian Toomey after the injury.
Brian Toomey after the injury.

“Following the accident, the paramedics said that I was dead for six seconds, but they managed to resuscitate me. Then when I made it to the hospital, they thought that I only had a 3% chance of survival.

“My poor mum and dad it must have had been horrible for them. They were told basically that I was lying on my death bed and that I wouldn’t make it and to prepare themselves for that.”

A substantial section of his skull had to be removed to allow his brain to swell and it was replaced with a metal plate weeks later.

While recovering in hospital the talented horseman set a target for himself to resume race riding once well enough.

“My family and friends asked me on numerous occasions not to do it, but I was determined, I think having a goal got me through my lengthy stay in hospital and helped me in my recovery both mentally and physically.”

Toomey had to battle with the powers that be, the British Horseracing Authority were obviously slow in deciding to pass him fit to resume his career as a professional rider.

Many doubted that he would recover well enough to pass the gruelling and numerous medical tests.

While on the sideline the determined jockey kept his eye in and his weight in check by riding out on a regular basis.

“I understood there were some who said I was mad to want to come back, but it’s been my dream since I was a young boy to be a jockey.

“It’s a job and a life I love, and I was absolutely determined that, if I couldn’t make it back, it wouldn’t be through a lack of effort or sheer determination on my part.”

Toomey finally won his battle and returned to race riding two years after his accident.

His first ride back was at Southwell aboard the Phil Kirby trained Kings Grey in a selling hurdle.

The race did not go to plan, Toomey pulled his mount up during the contest.

“I won my fight to get back, looking back at it now I might have been a bit crazy returning, but none the less I’m pleased that I did, I had a few rides after that but soon decided to retire from race riding.

"I have done all the training courses and passed all the exams to become a trainer. That’s my next battle to secure a yard. It would be a lot easier of course if I won the lotto!”

Toomey is keeping himself busy riding out five days a week at Clive Cox’s flat yard, where he is learning more about the training profession.

Without a doubt, he will be a fully-fledged trainer shortly.

The inspirational rider has fought and won so many battles during his 31 years on this planet, which makes him money on to win this fight and to join the training ranks.

“I love working at Clive’s yard, he’s a brilliant handler, but I all I want to do now is to set up on my own and make a go of training horses.”

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