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Jockey says 'my eyesight will not come back' as she's forced to retire aged 25

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DEVASTATED jockey Leah Kilner admitted ‘my eyesight will not come back’ as she was forced to retire aged 25.

The hugely popular Australian rider was dubbed ‘miracle girl’ after surviving a life-threatening fall in July 2022.

Leah Kilner was a rising star of racing but her devastating injury has forced her into early retirement

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Leah Kilner was a rising star of racing but her devastating injury has forced her into early retirement
She was making millions on the track when disaster struck at Grafton racecourse

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She was making millions on the track when disaster struck at Grafton racecourse
She admitted another blow to her head would prove fatal

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She admitted another blow to her head would prove fatal

Kilner won just shy of £2.7million on the track in a short career that saw her rocket to 204 wins and the promise of a huge future.

But her world came crashing down at Grafton racecourse almost two years ago when she was airlifted to a Brisbane hospital following a shocking spill.

The rehab process was long and brutal and now, in an emotional Instagram post, she has conceded she has lost the fight to return to the saddle.

Kilner wrote: “The end of an era… I may not have ended it on my terms, but I made it out alive.

“After 21 months, countless specialist appointments, ongoing rehab, tests and opinions… It’s time to hang up the boots.

“No matter the time and patience, my eyesight will not come back, my left side strength and sensation won’t come back to 100 per cent and quite frankly, if I hit my head again I will not walk out of hospital.

“I guess I knew it was coming and I never wanted to accept it, but seeing my saddles walk out the door made it really hit hard and set in… the career I loved is officially over.

“There’s been highs and lows no doubt, but I’ve loved every moment & wouldn’t change it for the world.

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“I’ve rode winners for mum and dad, uncle Trum and many many friends.

“I’ve rode on tracks all over New South Wales and Queensland and done a hell of a lot of sweating.

“I loved riding trackwork and making special bonds, but I hated wearing six jackets, two pairs of pants and wrapping myself in gladwrap so I could pull off 2kg every morning.

“The countless hours, hours of sweating in a bath, the six days a week of not eating and barely a drink, the blood, sweat and tears… I’ll actually weirdly miss it.

“Thank you isn’t enough, but to all the horses, trainers, owners and of course my managers that have been with me on this journey, I’ve been so blessed.

“So from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you for everything.

“From the first winner to the very last. It’s been a journey.”

Kilner had the world at her feet two years ago – rapidly rising through the ranks after rebelling against her dad to chase a career in racing.

The daddy-daughter duo ultimately formed a winning combination on the track, with her old man doing the training.

Kilner was enjoying some of her success off it too, proudly buying her first Mercedes-Benz with her substantial earnings.

But things changed forever after she was catapulted into the turf head-first during a Flat race.

Her recovery astounded doctors but the subsequent months have proved tough and, as she said in her statement, one more knock to the head would prove fatal.

Kilner’s decision came a day after the tragic death of 23-year-old jockey Stefano Cherchi.

The Sardinia-born rider, who had over 100 winners in Britain, succumbed to injuries he suffered in a fall while racing in Australia.

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