By Duane Fonseca -
Two-time UAE Champion Jockey Richard Mullen feared the worst when an horrific racing accident cast a pall of gloom over his future. But a trip to the winners’ enclosure after a brilliant ride at Al Ain has him dreaming of more success.
Attempting a return from an horrific injury is one of the toughest things to achieve and Richard Mullen, the former UAE Champion Jockey, can be forgiven for reaching the point where conundrums concerning his future in the saddle had started to rain down on him like hail.
But the UAE’s second most successful rider knows a thing or two about not throwing in towels and produced a class ride at Al Ain last Friday to vanquish all those thoughts of doom and gloom he had started to nurse since falling off Godolphin’s Charlie Appleby- trained Rebel’s Romance during the Grade 2 Bowling Green Stakes at Saratoga in July.
BROKEN BODY, INTACT SPIRIT
Speaking from his hospital bed at the time, Mullen somehow saw the irony in it all and wryly claimed he was “very sore with a broken collarbone, three broken vertebrae, a couple of broken ribs, a broken thumb and little bleeding on my lungs. But apart from that I’m okay!” Mullen knew he would recover physically. He knew there would be no problems there.
What worried him were the psychological scars. Blotches of unsavoury data from the fall that would be processed and stored in the deep recesses of his mind, which would be far harder to erase when in the saddle. He seems to have done fairly well so far with a win and a runners-up effort, and four other money spots. “To be honest, it’s just nice to be back on the racetrack after what happened.
Everything is a bonus now,” Mullen told Adiyat Racing Plus. “I’m back riding now and am back racing so hopefully that’s the worst of it”. The two-time UAE champion rose above his worst career fall to win at Al Ain on what was his 11th ride since the accident. And what a ride he delivered aboard Athbah Racing’s Saifaldin Deeb-trained Caram’bar, who appeared to go off the rails (not literally; more like out of control) on his first career start and needed constant cajoling to get back into the race. Mullen got him under control and then proceeded to win by two-and- a-quarter lengths. A spectacular effort thatdidnotgounnoticed,withtherider getting the call to ride Dennis O’Brien’s Mujeeb in the AED5 million PA Group 1 Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Na