JOCKEY John Kissick is optimistic he will make his long awaited return to race riding early in the new year.
He has been on the sidelines since November 2016 after fracturing his T-12 vertebrae when thrown from a steer and landing awkwardly.
Kissick underwent surgery to repair the damage to his T12 vertebrae including having two screws and a rod inserted from his T10 through to his T12 vertebrae.
His initial recovery involved doing as little physical activity as possible for 12 months.
The rehabilitation has taken a lot longer with Kissick spending a further two years trying to get his body right.
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Kissick has joined the Mitch Beer stable as well as managing a few jockeys.
"I've been riding track work and aiming to get back by New Year's day," Kissick said.
"Whether that be a race or a trial is yet to be determined.
"In the meantime the plan is to ride as much track work as possible and I still have to reapply for my jockeys licence.
"The body is feeling as good as it has in a long time and I have no dramas with my weight."
Before getting injured Kissick was regarded among the top echelon of jockeys in the district.