Powell beats cancer, raring to return to riding at Kranji
In a profession wrought with danger, jockey John Powell has - you could say - been there, done that. But nothing could prepare him for his latest battle. Cancer.
As required for a renewal of his riding licence, the Australian rider went for a medical check-up in January and the result was devastating. The doctors found a cyst on his neck. On checking further, it was discovered that he had thyroid cancer.
It was the start of yet another battle which we now know, he won. And, like the gladiator that he is, he now wants to get back to race riding - the sooner the better.
While it is with a sigh of relief that we welcome him back to Kranji and to the job he loves so much, things were grim just eight months ago.
The news that he had cancer left him, naturally, gutted and he wanted to get treatment back in Australia. But because of Covid-19, the borders were closed.
He eventually managed to fly to Sydney on June 28. After a battery of tests, he underwent surgery at the end of July. To his relief, the cancerous cells had luckily not spread to other organs and were removed, while the cyst proved to be benign.
After a few weeks of convalescence in Sydney, Powell returned to Singapore two weeks ago and came out of quarantine on Saturday. The harrowing experience behind him, the 50-year-old rider wants to get back into the saddle.
"It's been a very rough road. What started as a normal medical test turned into a nightmare," he said.
"The tests, the surgery, the biopsies and the waiting were not easy. But, thank goodness, it's all behind me now.
"It's been hard, mate. But I've got to move on. I've already spoken to the chief steward Terry Bailey and I should be good to start riding trackwork again fairly soon.
"I'm looking at a comeback on Singapore Guineas Day. That's two weeks from now. We'll see, but in any case, I won't be taking too many rides. I will just take my time to get back to full fitness."
We wish him well on his return to racing.