CHAMPION jockey Robert Thompson says a nasty race fall just three days after his 62nd birthday has not brought him any closer to retirement.
In fact, the Australian record-holder for winners ridden is eyeing a return at Newcastle on Saturday, only eight days after falling from Tombolo in the last race on Scone Cup day on Friday.
The Cessnock hoop and his mount went down after Steamboat Sally, with Central Coast's Jenny Duggan aboard, fell in front of them near the 400-metre mark.
While Thompson was lucky enough to walk back to the jockeys' room with just bruising and a sore shoulder, Duggan was taken to John Hunter Hospital with concussion and pain in her ankle and shoulder.
She said on Saturday she was "feeling very lucky" to be able to post her update on social media.
"I'm in John Hunter still doing tests," she wrote.
"So far I have a fracture in the bottom of my skull, some bleeding on my brain, broken nose, concussion ... and we are still working out what's happening with my shoulder."
Thompson said he was "very lucky to have no breaks" after his fall.
"I've had worse, definitely. I've had a lot I haven't walked away from," Thompson said.
"I'm just sick, sore and sorry, but apart from that, pretty good.
"I won't ride for this week, that's all. I could be back, if I get rides at Newcastle on Saturday, I reckon I'll be right for them.
"Just these first few days, I'm just taking it a bit easy.
"You don't bounce as good when you're a bit older. These days you don't bounce as well, and bounce back as quick, but we'll be right in a week's time."
The Australian Racing Hall of Famer, who has ridden 4441 winners in a career spanning 47 years, said the fall was his first in a race since his worst in 2004. Thompson fell at Warwick Farm and spent two years on the sidelines with a broken ankle.
"A couple of months ago I had a barrier mishap and I fractured two ribs, but it's been a hell of a long time since I've had a decent race fall," he said.
"The one in 2004 was easily the worst. Apart from that I've had a broken collarbone and broken toe. I've had a real good run."
Asked if the latest fall had made him consider retirement, Thompson said: "No, no.
"I can't with this pandemic. It's stuffed all my super and all my shares, so I've got to keep going. We've got to work longer now," he said with a laugh.
Thompson saw renowned muscle man John Munro, who has treated many local sportspeople and greyhounds, on Saturday and he will have more sessions this week.
"Johnny Munro is looking after me, he's got the dog machine on me and I'm going all right," he said. "If he doesn't fix me that quick, I'll come out barking anyway."
Meanwhile, Newcastle jockey Aaron Bullock has been suspended until June 24 for missing rides overweight at three meetings.
Bullock pleaded guilty to charges relating to missing rides at Newcastle on May 9, Quirindi on May 11 and Taree on May 12.
It comes after Bullock was suspended for a month for the same offence in March.
Bullock made a sensational start to the season to ride a NSW-leading 94 winners before the new year but he then took a break because of the strains of wasting.
He returned in January and then again in March after two months off, riding three more winners, but he has not been back since March 10.
Stewards told Bullock on Thursday that prior to resuming riding he would be required to present himself at scale at a suitable weight on two occasions.