Things are looking up at last for jockey Alysha Collett after spinal surgery

Alysha Collett: “I think it will be later in the year when I will be ready to return and that will most likely be here at home.” Photo: Trish Dunell

A successful procedure conducted on Friday to remove the metal rods and screws inserted to stabilise her lumbar region following a horror fall in Singapore last October has talented rider Alysha Collett moving full steam into the final stages of her recovery from the incident that has put her career on hold for the past six months.

Collett, who had been a regular feature in the top 500 in the TRC Global Jockeys' Rankings, sustained the injury to her L1 Lumbar vertebra, along with a fractured right heel when she fell from her mount at Kranji on October 14. Following the successful spinal surgery Collett returned to New Zealand a month later and has been working her way through the various rehabilitation processes since then. 

Collett is mindful that despite the removal of the support rods from her back she still has a way to go before she can contemplate resuming her riding career.

“It was great to have the rods and screws removed and I was out of hospital pretty quickly really,” she said. “I didn’t actually realise just how big they were, so I got a bit of a shock when they showed them to me afterwards.

“The surgeons were really pleased with how things have gone and where I am with my recovery, however they stressed that what I do over the next few months is just as important as what I’ve been doing since the first operation.

“I’m pretty set in my own mind that I want to be 110 per cent before I think about getting back to race riding.”

Collett admits the desire to resume her career still burns strongly, but whether that is in New Zealand or back in Singapore won’t be decided until further down the track.

“I’m still really keen to return to riding as it’s what I love, and I’m still young enough to be able to get back to the highest levels,” she said. “I guess if I was older or if I wasn’t enjoying it or doing well, I wouldn’t be as keen and might look for something else, but that’s not the case.

“I think it will be later in the year when I will be ready to return and that will most likely be here at home.

“I’m not sure about the situation with Singapore as it depends on the authorities there, but realistically, I’m not looking that far ahead as I just want to make sure I get myself right before I do anything more.”

Collett has kept herself busy during her enforced lay-off with regular appearances on television during the raceday coverage of the major summer racing carnivals in New Zealand while she has also recently been back riding at the Matamata track.

“It’s been good to get back and do a little bit of riding as I really missed it when I was laid up after the operation,” she said. “I also loved the opportunity to do some television work as it was a completely new experience.

“I learnt so much and it’s something I would love to be able to do more of when I do give race-riding away, whenever that might be.”

Collett rode 375 winners in New Zealand after commencing her career in the 2009-10 season before moving to Singapore in May 2018 where she had won 11 races before suffering her injuries. A cousin of reigning New Zealand champion jockey Samantha Collett, Alysha was fourth in the NZ premiership in 2017-18 and second in 2016-17,

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