Leah Kilner has stunned the Australian racing community by arriving at the Doomben races to be wrapped in a heartwarming embrace of love by her mates outside the jockeys’ room.
The seriously injured Queensland apprentice jockey wore a beaming smile as she was wheeled into the races on Saturday by her best mate Bianca Grob.
“It’s so good to see all the jockeys and it’s just so good to be back here at the races,” an excited Kilner told News Corp.
“I’m so happy.
“You probably couldn’t keep me away from the races if you tried.”
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Kilner was at one stage surrounded by all female jockeys Angela Jones, Sam Collett, Stephanie Thornton, Wendy Peel and Maddy Wishart.
She laughed and joked with fellow jockeys, including Brisbane’s champion jockey James Orman who has recently won twice on one of Kilner’s favourite horses Billonair Baby.
“I’ve heard you are coming back to ride soon so you can get back on Billonair Baby?!” Orman joked with Kilner.
Kilner, carrying a racebook, received medical approval to leave her rehabilitation unit at a Brisbane hospital after a shocking race fall at Grafton more than a month ago.
“She’s got her million-dollar smile back, it’s so good to see,” Grob said.
Kilner’s dad Greg, a Grafton trainer, was at Doomben to saddle up a pair of runners and it was one of the reasons Leah returned to the races for the first time since her fall.
“She told me there was no way in the world she was not going to be here at Doomben today,” proud Greg Kilner said.
Trailblazing female jockey Pam O’Neill, the boss of the Queensland Jockeys’ Association, was at Leah Kilner’s side for a while as the jockey was wheeled around Doomben.
“She has got a long way to go, but her recovery so far has been absolutely remarkable,” O’Neill said.
Last Tuesday, Kilner’s inspiring recovery from serious injury went up a notch when she visited Rob Heathcote’s Eagle Farm stables and patted and some of her favourite horses.
Grave fears were held after Kilner’s Grafton fall on July 3 but her recovery has been hailed as nothing short of a miracle.
Originally published as Leah Kilner makes inspiring return to the races at Doomben