Jockey George Baker shows bravery on long road to recovery
- Jockey George Baker suffered brain bleed after ride Boomerang Bob’s fatal fall
- Horse fell on frozen lake while racing at St Moritz as Baker put into coma
- He had ridden more than 1,000 winners including 2016 St Leger on Harbour Law
- But faces his biggest challenge yet to return to the level he was previously at
George Baker has a short film on his phone shot by wife Nicola of the first time he tried to walk after suffering a serious head injury in a horror fall in February.
The footage of the unsteady steps he takes are a positive reminder of the progress Baker has made to counter the frustration that surfaces when he feels it is too slow.
In reality, the strides Baker has taken since his mount Boomerang Bob was brought down and suffered a fatal fall while racing on the frozen lake at St Moritz have been massive.
Brave jockey George Baker pictured before his fall on the ice of St Moritz on Boomerang Bob
Baker suffered a brain bleed as medical experts placed him into a coma after he was airlifted
The bleed on the brain Baker sustained saw him placed into an induced coma and airlifted to intensive care in a Swiss hospital before being transferred to the Wellington Hospital in London and then a rehabilitation centre closer to his Berkshire home.
What Baker describes as a ‘character-building journey’ sees him now ‘doing normal things’.
Baker said: ‘To start with I thought my progress was really slow but then I remember how ill I was. I have to be positive how my body has handled it.
Baker celebrates after riding Harbour Law to victory at the 2016 St Leger Stakes at Doncaster
‘My memory seems to getting back to normal. With brain injuries it is an unknown. I don’t know how far I can go.
‘I have been pushing it as much as I can but you have to be careful. I do a lot of stuff in the gym and have been playing tennis which has helped. My hand-eye co-ordination is improving.
‘I played golf a lot before my accident and I am learning to play again. I have literally learned how to swing it again. It is probably not pretty at times but it is coming.
Baker rides Scutum to victory at the British Stallion Studs Auction Maiden at Epsom in 2014
‘To return to be a jockey would be the dream scenario. But if that can’t happen, at some stage I am going to have to work again so I will keep at it and see what happens.’
Twelve months ago Baker landed his first Classic when Laura Mongan-trained Harbour Law pulled off a 22-1 shock in the St Leger.
Baker will be back at Doncaster for the race on Saturday as an ambassador for sponsors William Hill. The head trauma he sustained has not dulled his memory of what was the biggest day of his career.
Baker wins at Newbury Racecourse on the horse Stormy Antartic in September 2015
Pinpointing Sir Michael Stoute-trained Crystal Ocean as the one to beat of the 11 remaining entries for the £700,000 final Classic of the season, Baker added: ‘Luckily, I remember everything about it. It was a special day. We went there hoping rather than confident.
‘Driving home that night took about three hours but it felt like three minutes because I was on such a high.
‘I am not going to lie. One of the first things I did when I got home from hospital was to flick on Sky+ and watch it back just to remind myself of the good times. It’s a good thing to aim for to get back to that sort of level.’