Veyron’s rider on way back

After two and a half months on the sideline, Rogan Norvall is gearing up for his return to

Norvall broke his left ankle and left collarbone (in three places) when his mount crashed over a fallen runner in a barrier trial at Cambridge on December 13. Complications with the collarbone injury has delayed Norvall’s return to riding, but his doctor has just given him the all-clear to resume “light duties” next Monday.

“My ankle healed up quickly — I was out of the moon-boot after six weeks and walking around everywhere,” said Norvall. “But the collarbone has been the trouble. I broke it in three places and it’s got nine screws to hold the plate. The problem was one of the screws was moving and there was the danger of doing further damage. But now it’s all calcified over.”

To regain fitness Norvall has been walking 20 to 40 minutes every morning and going to the pool and swimming for 10 minutes in the afternoons.

“It was easy early on, but my physio stepped it up and he’s made me work harder,” said Norvall. “With what I’m doing I should come back fitter than I was before. I’ve just got to ease back into it and be selective
in my rides at the track. I’ve got to do my own rehab and gradually build up again. My doctor says just to work into it slowly and I should be right in a month.”

The fall could not have come at a worse time for Norvall, who was looking forward to continuing his association with his favourite horse, Veyron. And the lengthy absence from raceriding has seen Norvall miss a Group One second on Veyron in the Zabeel Classic and Group One wins in the Waikato Draught Sprint and last Saturday’s Haunui Farm Group One at Otaki.

“It’s been bittersweet for me,” said Norvall. “I’m really happy for Linda (trainer Linda Laing) and the owners and I’m delighted for the horse. I stamped him as a champion from the first time I rode him. He’s very
special to me. He’s really stepped up.

“But it’s still frustrating not being able to ride him. I’ve only ridden in a handful of Group Ones and to have a second in a Group One then two Group One wins would have helped my career.”

Leith Innes won the Waikato Draught Sprint on Veyron and Mark Hills was aboard in the Otaki win. And Laing has promised Norvall he will be back in the saddle when he is back in full swing.

“I’m so grateful to Linda and the owners for sticking by me,” said Norvall.