Armytage shows the resolve for comeback

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The Independent Online
Gee Armytage enters hospital today to have the operation which she hopes will allow her to partner Merry Master in the Grand National. The jockey will have the four metal rods which have been holding together her lower back removed at Hinchingbrook Hospital, near Huntingdon. On Saturday she will be watching on television as Merry Master makes his seasonal debut in the Great Yorkshire Chase at Doncaster.

Armytage, 30, came perilously close to being paralysed when she smashed her back in a fall from Highland Flame at Huntingdon last March. Explaining why she is prepared to risk life and limb again, she said: "Financially, my racing career is over and I know I'll eventually have to find something else. But I love it. It keeps me going and is something to work at.

"While I can understand jockeys who finish because they have lost their nerve, unfortunately my nerve is totally undamaged. I'm afraid my heart is still in it even if my body is not."