WHEN he won the Guinness Galway Hurdle in July on the Tony Martin-trained Tudor City, jockey Liam McKenna was having his first ride back since breaking his collarbone in a fall in Easter Monday’s Irish Grand National.

Liam’s only winner since then was the Colm Murphy-trained Elle Perfecta who landed the two-and-a-half-mile handicap hurdle on day two of the Listowel Festival. However, underlining the ups and downs of life as a National Hunt jockey, Liam’s luck changed in the following two-mile, one-furlong beginners’ chase where he suffered substantial facial injuries in a fall with Soloman Lane.

The injuries included a broken cheekbone, a fractured eye socket and a fractured sinus passage. On Monday just past, a week after the fall, Liam went into St James’s Hospital in Dublin where he underwent surgery on Thursday.

“I hope to get out tomorrow and the aim is to be back riding at Down Royal’s big meeting early next month,” said the 27-year-old Dungannon-born jockey who rides out for both Martin and Murphy.

He lives in Summerhill with partner Louise Magee who used to work for Gordon Elliott and led up Don Cossack and Tiger Roll during her time there.

Louise has since left the world of racing for that in hairdressing but does work at sales and keeps a couple of Connemaras to compete.