SAMMIE Clenton welcomes the likelihood of back surgery next month if it means a chance to make up for lost time in the saddle after a frustrating stint on the sidelines.
The 27-year-old has not ridden at the races since May 15 at Scone because of back pain. She was lucky to escape paralysis after a horror fall at that track in 2016 when six vertebrae were crushed and she needed metal rods and plates to stabilise her spine.
An apprentice to Newcastle trainer Kris Lees, Clenton made a brilliant return early last year, racking up 44 winners in the second half of the season. In 2019-20, she had 89 despite missing more than three months with injury.
She rested and had physiotherapy before returning to trackwork for a week but said "it got worse really quick".
Clenton, who saw a specialist on Wednesday, will have a cortisone injection on August 9 in the hope or alleviating the problem. If it continues, she will have surgery on August 23 to shave a disc.
"At least I've got a plan now, I've got answers," Clenton said. "It's nothing surgery, so it doesn't really bother me, but at least I've got somewhere to go now.
"There's a 20 per cent chance the injection will work. If it works, we'll go with that. If it doesn't work, we'll go with keyhole surgery and after that it will be six weeks before I can ride work again.
"Fingers crossed, he wants to take the plates out. I need all that out, I know that, so hopefully we can get that done at the same time."
Clenton was driven to return to racing again.
"Everyday you are learning and improving, so as long as you are in the right mind frame, you'll keep improving, and that's all I want to keep doing," she said.
"It feels like I've been an apprentice forever but I've never had a clean run at it. It's doing my head in and I just want to get back some of the time I've lost."
"Fingers crossed it all goes good from hereon in."
While you're with us, did you know the Newcastle Herald offers breaking news alerts, daily email newsletters and more? Keep up to date with all the local news - sign up here
IN OTHER NEWS