Trudy Thornton back in action

First-starter Zory Star beat only a couple home at Te Aroha yesterday, but the expression on the face of rider Trudy Thornton showed no signs of disappointment.

In fact, anyone who saw the Cambridge horsewoman return to the birdcage after the Ben Collins Electrical 1200 could have been mistaken for thinking the horse had finished in the money.

The Denise Jeffcoat- trained runner had done no better than third of four in two trials and Thornton wasn’t expecting much from the four-year-old mare, but she was just so happy to be back riding on raceday.

Thornton, one of the toughest riders in the business, underwent a hip replacement operation a few months ago and Zory Star was her first ride on the comeback trail.

“I went up to Pukekohe and worked the horse last week and knew she’d benefit from this run, but it’s just so good to be back,” said Thornton. “I can’t express how good and strong I feel.”

Thornton suffered a serious fall at Ellerslie last March in which she shattered her hip joint. Screws and a plate were inserted into the hip and a bone graft was done.

Thornton resumed riding and completed that season with 50 wins, but that operation was always a short-term measure with a hip replacement on the cards.

“The work they did on my hip the first time was never going to hold and I knew I’d need a hip replacement,” she said. “I’ve come through this better than that first operation. Within three days I was able to put weight on my leg and it’s just kept improving from there.”

Thornton has been riding up to six horses a morning at the Cambridge track for the past four weeks and will be in action at the Cambridge trials next week.

“It’ll take a while to pick up rides again but I’ll get there,” said Thornton. “It’s just good to be riding again.”