Jason MAGUIRE returns to action at Newton Abbot today after spending six months recovering from the serious injuries that he suffered at Stratford on the eve of the Cheltenham Festival.
The 34-year-old Co Meath native was left with a fractured sternum and a bleeding liver after he got kicked by another horse following his fall from Scots Gaelic. Having been airlifted to University Hospital Coventry, Maguire was put in a medically induced coma while the full extent of the internal damage was established.
The Grand National-winning rider, whose wife recently gave birth to their first child, was later moved to Gloucester Hospital to be closer to his family before being allowed to complete his recovery at home.
Don McCain's stable jockey's recuperation is now complete, and he returns to a team in a rich vein of form, with McCain utilising AP McCoy's services to great effect in recent months.
Despite his injury, Maguire still finished last season with 130 winners, having been second to McCoy in the previous season's jockeys' championship. Incredibly, the 19-time champion McCoy is already on the 130-winner mark for the current campaign.
Maguire's only booked ride today is Mr Satco for McCain in a three-runner novices' chase.
"I'm obviously thrilled to be back," said Maguire yesterday. "It's a novice chase but once you're back, there's no point picking and choosing. It has been a long time watching on the sidelines and I'm really looking forward to it.
"When you are out that length of time it makes you appreciate what you have, riding for a powerful stable. I was aiming to be back at the end of the month, but I got passed (by the doctor) earlier this week, so that was grand. I can't wait."
McCoy's quest for a first 300-winner season continues at Worcester. One of his six rides is Jim Best's Saint Helena, the horse at the centre of a successful recent gamble at Southwell, when McCoy was a late booking after his original mount for Best was scratched.
Longford handler Paul Flynn runs Limpopo Tom at Worcester and Boxer Beat at Newton Abbot, while Kildare-based Adrian Keatley will saddle Carraroe Flyer at Ayr.
There are four Irish-trained runners at the Scottish venue tomorrow, with Ger Lyons' Burn The Boats and Andrew Slattery's An Saighdiur tackling the Ayr Gold Cup.