The medical scans that show Rothfire’s amazing comeback from serious leg injury

They are the remarkable pictures which provide a graphic illustration of how far the remarkable comeback journey of Queensland’s Group 1 star Rothfire has come.

When Rob Heathcote first looked at the X-rays of Rothfire’s fractured sesamoid bone following his stable star suffering a heartbreaking leg injury in last year’s Group 1 Golden Rose in Sydney, he feared Rothfire would never race again.

“When I first saw the pictures I thought he probably wouldn’t make it back to the races, I thought his career was finished,” Heathcote said.

“But when I spoke to my vets they said you are very lucky because it’s not the top of the sesamoid, it’s in the two o’clock position.

“For a very bad injury, it was as good as it could be.

“We have done such a lot of rehab work to get him to the point where he is now, it’s absolutely remarkable really.”

Lateral view of Rothfire’s fractured sesamoid, X-ray from September last year. Picture: Rob HeathcoteSource:Supplied

Rothfire, the “Thriller from Chinchilla” who is so named because he was bred just outside the Queensland bush town of Chinchilla, took racing by storm last year after being purchased by Heathcote for $10,000 when he was unwanted by any sales company.

Rothfire won the Group 1 JJ Atkins in Queensland and Group 2 Run To The Rose in Sydney and had been snapped up to slot holders to run in the $15m The Everest.

But there were terrible scenes at Rosehill when, as $1.55 favourite for the Group 1 Golden Rose, he took some awkward steps and returned lame after fading to finish fourth.

The bone fragments that were removed from Rothfire’s sesamoid in surgery. Picture: Rob HeathcoteSource:Supplied

Such is the esteem that Rothfire is held in, he is already in high demand from The Everest slot-holders for this year’s rich race despite not having raced since September last year.

Slot-holder James Kennedy deployed a vet to Brisbane to inspect Rothfire last week and the Group 1 star’s sensational trial romp at Doomben earlier this month also piqued the interest of Everest slot holders Aquis.

Heathcote is now confident Rothfire will return to his brilliant best after watching him blitz his trial opposition recently and, just as importantly, come through the hitout without a worry in the world.

Rothfire’s x-ray comparison before and after surgery. Picture: Rob HeathcoteSource:Supplied

Now, for the first time, the multiple Group 1-winning trainer has now revealed he has been unable to watch a replay of the race last year when things went so terribly wrong for Rothfire.

“I have only ever seen the race once – and that was live,” Heathcote said.

“I just don’t want to see it again.

“I don’t want to see Rothfire going amiss.

“And I was very unhappy with the ride, we didn’t want to lead under any circumstances (but) the jockey led.

“I just can’t bring myself to watch it, it’s something I don’t want to see.”

The next stage in Rothfire’s return to racing is a trial at Doomben on August 31.

“And then it will all be about the run into those big races in Sydney,” Heathcote said.

Rothfire looking out of his box post surgery last year. Picture: Rob HeathcoteSource:Supplied

All going well, Rothfire will return to racing in the Group 2 The Shorts in Sydney on September 18 where he is likely to be ridden by champion Sydney jockey James McDonald.

Bookies are keeping Rothfire safe in betting for The Everest. He is an $11 chance with TAB fixed odds despite not yet being signed up by a slot-holder.

Rothfire is also at $11 in early TAB betting for the Golden Eagle.

Rothfire has won seven of his nine starts and now looks an extremely promising chance to return to his rampaging best.

There are bridges still to cross but the Rothfire camp could not be happier considering the initial fears when he was injured last year.

It will soon be the case of bring on the big guns and the big-time of Sydney spring racing.

Originally published asPictures that reveal Rothfire’s amazing comeback

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