Apprentice triumphing over adversity

A series of injuries haven’t dampened Holly Andrew’s enthusiasm for riding. Source: Race Images.

Courage and determination are two qualities that apprentice jockey Holly Andrew has in spades.

The 27-year-old’s steely resolve has stood her in good stead as she has suffered more than her share of injuries.

Andrew is currently awaiting further surgery and another lengthy period of rehabilitation, but she remains upbeat about her future return to the saddle.

“I’m having a shoulder operation on Thursday week to fix the tendons and then it will be three months of healing time before I can use it or lift anything,” she said.

“I’ve been watching the racing on TV and it’s hard when I see the horses I’ve ridden win and the trainers I’ve ridden for, but I think how lucky I have been – it could have been a lot worse.”

Apprenticed to Kevin Gray, Andrew suffered her latest injury when she parted company with stable runner Bronsteel in the Group 3 Cuddle Stakes (1600m) at Trentham.

“It wasn’t my fault or that of my horse, another jockey moved out and we clipped a heel,” Andrew said. “I got pummelled in the shoulder, it’s just the hand I was dealt and you have to get on with it.

“Unfortunately for me, I seem to be going really well or badly hurt and nothing in between.” Andrew has suffered numerous broken bones in falls, but her most serious injuries were the result of a car accident in 2013.

She broke both femurs, smashed both knees and her left ankle and right foot were broken. The muscles and fat were pulled off her lower left calf and she had 20 stitches in a head wound.

However, Andrew made a successful comeback in 2016 and she is now just as determined to return later this year.

“I feel quite driven and I love what I do,” she said.

“I’m hoping to be back riding trackwork in mid- October.

“I’ve set a goal when I get back. I’ll have just under a year of my apprenticeship left and I’d like to win the leading apprentices’ title.

“I’ve spoken to Mr Gray about it and travelling all over the place. He’s been great to me and made me a stronger person mentally.”

Andrew has ridden 66 winners and said her highlight so far had been her association with the Gray- prepared Itsallbelt.

“I won four races in a row on him and we also won the longest flat race (3210m) in Australasia on the extreme day at New Plymouth,” she said.

“That was something a bit different and a bit special.”