Queanbeyan trainer Joe Cleary has organised a fundraiser to help injured jockey John Kissick

TOUGH TIMES: Premiership-winning jockey John Kissick hopes to return to the saddle early next year after more than 12 months on the sidelines. Picture: Les Smith

TOUGH TIMES: Premiership-winning jockey John Kissick hopes to return to the saddle early next year after more than 12 months on the sidelines. Picture: Les Smith

INJURED Southern District jockey John Kissick hopes to return to the saddle next year after a tough 12 months on the sidelines.

Kissick will undergo surgery next month to have screws and a rod removed from his spine, a result of a steer-riding accident in October last year.

As he prepares for surgery and builds his hopes towards a comeback, a fundraiser will be held in Queanbeyan for him next Wednesday.

Queanbeyan trainer and Kissick’s good mate, Joe Cleary, has organised ‘A Day for JK’, a function designed to help the 26-year-old financially in his recovery.

Kissick has been unable to work since the accident and Cleary wants to help the young jockey in his time of need.

“A friend in need is a friend indeed,” Cleary said.

“I formed a good relationship with John on and off the track and the racing community, they stick together in times like this.

“John is very humble, and didn’t really want this, but he’s very grateful that it’s going ahead.

“The support we’ve had so far has been unreal.”

Chris Waller, Gai Waterhouse and Darren Weir have already thrown their support behind the event and donated auction items.

Wayne Harris, Pat Webster, Nick Olive and Matthew Dale will be guest speakers and already tickets have been purchased from industry participants across the state.

Kissick is overwhelmed by the support.

“I’m thankful for everyone. I don’t really want it but it’s a nice gesture and goes to show how good racing people are, and how good of a community it is to get into,” Kissick said.

Kissick is currently living with his grandmother in Sydney. He has barely been able to move since the accident.

“It’s been tough, I’m not going to deny that,” he said.

“I basically can’t do anything. I’m not allowed to lift anything above three kilos. I’m unable to bend and I haven’t been able to run.”

A return to the saddle is not guaranteed. He will have surgery next month, then has to wait four weeks to begin physiotherapy. It is then when he will get an idea about his chances of returning to riding.

Kissick, a three time Southern District premiership winner, is keen for a second chance.

“I want to get back and I’ll do things a lot different,” he said.

“I want to go higher than what I was happy to achieve before.”

Kissick wants to be back on a horse by March. His weight has not been a problem and is at 65kg.

Only 40 tickets remain for the fundraiser at Hotel Queanbeyan, that starts at midday and goes until 4pm.

A monster raffle will be conducted, along with a number of items to be auctioned.

Tickets can be purchased through Sharlene Cleary on 0423 676 604.