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Crowley hoping his nightmare is over.

Jim Crowley returns to action at Ayr today-minus part of his right collarbone, which he has broken three times in what he describes as a ``nightmare'' time.

With 21 wins this season, the Middleham-based jockey was going great guns until suffering his first break at Kelso in November. What proved to be a complicated fracture took until Christmas to heal, and Crowley then suffered the misfortune of breaking it again on his first day back riding, when falling on October Mist at Wetherby in the Castleford Chase.

That setback meant another month on the sidelines for Crowley before he suffered the cruellest of hat-tricks when, within a week of picking up the threads again, he came to grief on Pebble Moon at Musselburgh at the end of January and broke the collarbone for the third time.

``I went to see Dr Michael Foy and he diagnosed a non-fibrous union, which basically meant that the outer third of the collarbone wasn't healing properly," said Crowley, who has since had an operation to remove the offending part.

"It's not that unusual," he added. "A few other jockeys have had it done successfully, and though a third of it is missing, it feels perfectly normal."

Crowley, who teams up with Touch Closer for Alan Swinbank in today's bumper, is hoping for a trouble-free conclusion to the season.

``I haven't ridden a winner since the first time I broke it in November, but that's how racing goes sometimes," he said. "Hopefully, I can start making up for lost time."
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Mar 18, 2002
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