Walker's Return delayed

Heavy rain has unsaddled top jockey Michael Walker’s
bid to return to trials riding today, after a near-fatal hunting

MichaelWalker Walker had planned to ride four horses at the Paeroa trials today after getting the okay from New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR).

Officials abandoned the 24-race trial meeting this morning after eight millimetres of rain fell overnight, making the track potentially unsafe.

Walker was yesterday given the green light to ride trackwork and trials as he rehabilitated from serious injuries suffered while hunting in the north Taranaki in May.

His next opportunity to ride trials was likely to be at Waipa, next week.

Walker will require a further clearance from his doctor and NZTR’s medical adviser before resuming raceday riding, NZTR said yesterday.

Walker suffered head injuries when he fell over a bluff while pig hunting with two companions in remote bush at Okau, 30km south of Awakino.

"Physically and mentally I am 110 percent. I’m looking to get my eye back in at the first chance tomorrow where I am riding four trials," he said yesterday.

"Over the next six weeks I will be easing back into full time riding and just seeing how I go."

At the time of his accident Walker was New Zealand’s leading jockey for the 2007/08 season with 173 winners and $2.9 million in prizemoney.

His lead was maintained to the end of the season and he was voted Mercedes Jockey of the Year at the Mercedes Awards Dinner on August 15.