Paul Hanagan was allowed home on Monday without surgery, nine days after being admitted to Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary with a back injury following a heavy fall at an evening all-weather meeting at the nearby racecourse.
The two-time champion jockey feared he would require an operation after suffering a fracture to his T6 vertebra in a fall on the Richard Fahey-trained Requinto Dawn in a 6f handicap on February 15, but he has been fitted instead with a brace for what he acknowledges could nevertheless be a long road back.
Speaking from hospital on Monday, while waiting to be taken home by his wife Anna, he said: "I've just had an X-ray and no operation is needed. The fracture is still stable, which is great news, and instead I have a brace fitted to wear throughout the day."
Hanagan is 39 now and the 71 winners he recorded last year were a far cry from his championship winning peaks of 205 and 177 in 2010 and 2011, but the hunger is still there and he has vowed to be back in the saddle as soon as he is fit again.
He said: "It’s very hard to say when I will be back, and I have a long journey ahead of me with rehab, but I’m really positive and I'm going to make sure I will come back even stronger and fitter."
He was once again at pains to credit the staff at the racecourse and in hospital for the care he has received and said: "Can I please thank everyone for their support, especially the team at Newcastle Royal Victoria Infirmary and the medical team who first got to me at the racecourse."