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Jockey Elizabeth Gale rides Aintree winner – less than three years after breaking her back

Elizabeth Gale described her victory aboard Celebre D’Allen as a ‘massive deal’ after the conditional jockey secured her biggest victory since recovering from a broken back in the Jewson Vieux Lion Rouge Veterans’ Handicap Chase at Aintree. 

Less than three years after recovering from breaking two vertebrae following a point-to-point fall, the 21-year-old was beaming with delight after gaining her first success at the Merseyside track aboard the Philip Hobbs and Johnson White-trained 11-year-old in the three miles and one furlong contest. 

In a race that was packed full of drama, Gale worked her way steadily into contention aboard the 3/1 Favourite before sending him on past Landofsmiles between the final two fences. 

Quickly opening up a sizeable lead Celebre D’Allen measured the last well before coasting home to victory by 16 lengths to secure a first win since running out the winner of a handicap chase at Warwick in February last year. 

Gale said: “It was easier than I thought it was going to be that’s for sure. He gave me a beautiful ride around. It was his first run of the season since running in the Topham so the aim was to just get him jumping really. He is an 11-year-old and he has seen it out beautifully.

“I used to come here as a kid with Pony Club and I never thought I would be walking down those steps. It is a massive deal for me, especially to ride a winner here. 

“The plan was to go second division, but I got a couple of slow jumps early so I was right at the back. As soon as he got passed one he kept travelling and jumping. He just knows his job.  

“I’ve had a long road to get here and anything I get is a bonus. A massive thanks to the governor and Johnson White. I’ve been there four seasons and I missed a good bit through injury, but I can’t complain as they look after me. 

“I broke my back a few years ago point-to-pointing and I missed a year of racing. It has been slow to get going, but days like these will get me going. I’m over the moon. It was really hard (coming back), but we have some great people looking after us so I can’t complain. 

“I’m fairly vague with targets, but if I could get a rode around in the conditional jockeys handicap hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival that would be a pinnacle moment for me like today is.”

By Graham Clark 

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