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Danny Cook brings curtain down on riding career

Danny Cook has been forced into retirement following the horrible fall he suffered last year that threatened his eyesight.

Cook, one of the leading riders on the northern National Hunt circuit, initially required 60 stitches in his face after the incident at Market Rasen in October.

He did return to action in November, but had a fall from one of his favourite horses, Definitly Red, in the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle and gave up his rides the following day. Cook has not ridden since.

“I tried to give it as much time as I could, but it’s been going on a year now and it just isn’t getting any better,” said Cook.

“I’ve had to face reality and base the decision on going forward.

“The problem arises when I bend over and tilt my head back. When I rotate my eye to go horizontal, I just lose vision and can’t see.”

Regarding the immediate future, Cook is set to join up with his family in the landscaping business – but he hopes to return to the racing industry at some stage.

“My family are all landscape gardeners so I’ll probably go into that for a bit just to get some money in,” said Cook, 38.

“I would like to get back into racing, but at the moment there’s a bit more money in the landscaping game just to tide me over until I get sorted.”

Cook had some memorable days in the saddle, including a Cheltenham Festival win on Great Endeavour. But one stands out above others.

“I’d have to say my favourite was winning the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham on Definitly Red. That was the best one for me,” said Cook.

“I got some great support when I moved up north, Brian Ellison stuck by me and then I built up a great relationship with Sue Smith.

“Things were all going well and my best years were probably still to come, so it’s a shame the injury came when it did.”

Danny Cook waiting for eye specialist appointment

Danny Cook remains on the sidelines as he awaits an appointment to assess his eye injury.

The original problem stemmed from a fall at Market Rasen in October which required 60 stitches in his face.

Cook returned to action in November but has not ridden since taking a fall from Definitly Red in the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle’s Fighting Fifth meeting.

He gave up his rides the following day at Carlisle, citing impaired vision, and is now awaiting an appointment with an eye specialist to see if the situation can be improved.

“There’s still no news – obviously I’m waiting on an appointment, because everything has been put on the back-burner due to Covid,” said Cook.

“I’ve no date and no indication when I might get one. Literally nothing is happening – but what can you do, bigger things are going on elsewhere in the world.

“I’m healthy, that’s the main thing.”

Cook faces anxious wait on eye injury

Danny Cook is taking time out from the saddle in the hope an eye injury, from which he had only recently returned, improves enough for him to continue his career.

Cook needed 60 stitches in his face following a fall at Market Rasen last month, and returned to action eight days ago.

He rode at Newcastle on Saturday too, taking a fall from his old favourite Definitly Red in the Rehearsal Chase before giving up his mounts at Carlisle on Sunday.

“I’m going to take time out to get myself sorted – it’s just one of those things,” he told The Yorkshire Post.

“If they operate, there’s an 80 per cent chance my sight will be even worse, so I need to weigh up all the options.

“Hopefully, I will know more in the next week. If it doesn’t get better, I will not return.”

Responding to rumours he had already decided to quit the saddle, he said: “People are going to say what they are going to say.

“Mentally, I am good to go and I am confident and strong. But the vision is very much impaired when I go into a jump – it’s not helping.

“I have got to look after myself. If I can’t ride at my best, I must get myself sorted. Whatever happens, I have had a good innings and hopefully it is not the end.

“Time will tell. I have just got to take time to get it right, because I don’t feel I am riding to the best of my ability as things stand.”

Danny Cook out for at least two more weeks

Danny Cook is set to be out of action for at least another couple of weeks following his heavy fall at Market Rasen earlier this month.

Cook was riding Ravenhill Road in the Prelude Handicap Chase when coming down two fences from the finish, receiving a kick in the face from a following horse in the process.

The jockey revealed last week that he had around 60 stitches in his face and “a horseshoe print from my cheekbone going around to above my eye and down the side of my nose”.

And while Cook himself feels is on the road to recovery, doctors have not yet given him the all-clear to return to action – meaning he will miss the ride on Definitly Red in Saturday’s bet365 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby.

Speaking on Tuesday morning, he said: “I had the stitches out last week and some X-rays done and no operation is needed.

“However, I was back at hospital last night and it’s not good news unfortunately – the doctors feel it needs more time.

“I’m on the mend and I feel good in myself, but the eye socket is completely shattered, so there’s not really anything protecting the eyeball. I have to go back in two weeks and we’ll see how it is then.

“It’s disappointing as there’s Wetherby on Saturday and I also had some nice rides at Carlisle on Sunday.”

Cook may need surgery after Market Rasen fall

Danny Cook will find out if he requires an operation to his eye socket when he returns to hospital on Thursday to have 60 facial stitches taken out after his weekend fall at Market Rasen.

Cook was riding Ravenhill Road on Saturday when coming down at the second last, receiving a kick in the face from a following horse in the process.

“I’m feeling fine actually, not too bad,” he said.

“I’m going back for X-rays on Thursday, and that should give me a better indication of how long I’ll be out.

“I’ve had stitches to the face and eye, and I’ll get them out on Thursday, so I’m hoping I won’t be out too long.”

He will know more, though, after the check-up.

“It’s my eye socket that took the brunt of the force,” Cook added.

“I’ve got about 60 stitches in my face and I’ve got a horseshoe print from my cheekbone going around to above my eye and down the side of my nose.

“My lips needed stitching too, so there’s plenty there. There’s also a bit of broken nose and a fractured eye socket – but I don’t know if I’ll need an op yet until Thursday.”

Cook will be hoping he is back in time to ride Brian Ellison’s Definitly Red in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on October 31.