By Jon Lees
Germany: Recovering jockey Filip Minarik hopes he will be allowed home within a few weeks as he reported that his rehabilitation is on the right track.
Four-time German champion Minarik spent many weeks in a coma after a racecourse fall in July which left him unconscious, with head injuries and foot fractures. He has started walking and talking again since waking last month.
The Czech-born rider, 45, has now given an interview to journalist Martin Cap from the Czech website Jezdci.cz from hospital in Cologne.
“Every day is a challenge for me,” said Minarik.
“I have a lot of time to think. Some days are better and others worse,” he said of his stay at the Cologne rehabilitation clinic.
“The doctors say that I am still waiting for miracles. The main obstacle is probably my impatient nature, otherwise everything is actually on the right track.”
Video emerged recently of Minarik walking with the help of a specialist walking frame as he continued his recovery, for which over £100,000 was raised through a GoFundMe page and video appeal involving Frankie Dettori and fellow jockeys from all over Europe.
“I’m making progress in walking,” he said. “If I continue at this pace, they could let me go home in a few weeks. That motivates me a lot.
“Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who supported me and kept my fingers crossed. It means a lot to me.”
He added: “The ability to concentrate is only slowly improving so far. I’m a bit bothered by short-term memory, but that’s supposed to be normal. I believe it will gradually improve, especially after being released home.”
Minarik, originally from Prague, has been riding in Germany since 2000 where he has partnered more than 1,500 winners, 13 at G1 level, and was champion in 2005, 2011, 2016 and 2017 (when he shared the title with Alex Pietsch).
He led the European team at last year’s Shergar Cup at Ascot, where he made an instant impression by riding a winner on his first ride.