Danny Cook was forced into retirement following a horrific fall he suffered last year which threatened his eyesight.
Cook, one of the main runners on the National Hunt North Circuit, first needed 60 stitches in his face after the Market Rasen incident in October.
He returned to action in November, but fell to one of his favorite horses, Definitly Red, at the Rehearsal Chase in Newcastle and abandoned his races the next day. Cook hasn’t driven since.
“I’m tired of giving it as much time as I could, but it’s been going on for a year now and it’s just not improving,” Cook said.
“I had to face reality and base my decision on the future.
“The problem arises when I bend down and tilt my head back. When I turn my eye horizontally, I just lose my vision and cannot see.”
As for the immediate future, Cook is set to join his family in the landscaping business – but he hopes to return to the racing industry at some point.
“My family is landscaped gardeners, so I’m probably going to dwell on them for a bit just to make some money,” said Cook, 38.
“I would love to come back to racing, but at the moment there is a little more money in the landscaping game just to tide me over until I get sorted.”
Cook had some memorable days in the saddle, including winning the Cheltenham Festival over Great Endeavor. But one stands out from the others.
“I have to say my favorite was winning the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham on Definitly Red. It was the best for me,” said Cook.
“I received great support when I moved up north, Brian Ellison stayed by my side, and then I had a great relationship with Sue Smith.
“Things were going well and my best years were probably yet to come, so it’s a shame the injury happened when it happened.”