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Popham stepping up rehabilitation; RACING PEOPLE Focus on those at the heart of the action.

JOCKEY Ian Popham has set himself the target of returning in time for the Cheltenham Festival after he underwent an operation to remove the metalwork in his pelvis last week.

The conditional, who is attached to the yard of Martin Keighley, suffered a triple pelvic break in September when riding out for Caroline Keevil, but Popham said his operation had gone well and that he would now head to Oaksey House in Lambourn to continue his rehabilitation.

"My recovery is going well. I had the operation to remove a metal frame which was holding my pelvis in the right position and once the stitches have healed I'll hopefully be going to Oaksey House. I have to go back to the hospital in Bristol for another x-ray in three weeks' time but it's all heading in the right direction," says Popham.

"I was doing a lot of cycling and swimming before the operation and it feels a hell of a lot better. I'm not as restricted. I've been down to Martin's a couple of times and I've been racing a fair bit so I've been keeping in the picture. If I can, I'll try to get back before Cheltenham - that's the plan.

"Obviously, my injury was quite nasty and the doctors said if I came back too quickly I could cause more problems, so I'll be sensible. Martin's got some nice horses, as has Caroline, and I'm most looking to riding Champion Court - hopefully! I was on a nice roll before the accident happened so hopefully I'll get back there."

Popham's biggest career success came in 2010 aboard Poquelin in the Vote AP Gold Cup at Cheltenham.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jan 29, 2012
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