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Graham Lee: Injured jockey able to 'talk normally' following spinal surgery

Graham Lee
Graham Lee won the Grand National in 2004 with Amberleigh House

Grand National-winning jockey Graham Lee has been able to "talk normally" following his spinal surgery.

The 47-year-old was unseated from his mount Ben Macdui as the stalls opened at Newcastle Racecourse last week.

He was taken to intensive care at Royal Victoria Infirmary Hospital in Newcastle, where he underwent surgery.

The Injured Jockeys Fund (IJF) said Lee had made "positive progress" and was ready to move to James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough, closer to his home.

On Wednesday, the IJF said Lee was "recovering well" from procedures to stabilise the fractures in his cervical spine and further protect his spinal cord, but his long-term prognosis remained "uncertain".

"Graham has made positive progress in the last 24 hours and has been able to talk normally with his family for short periods when his ventilator is turned down," the IJF said on Friday.

"He has been reviewed by his spinal consultant and when a bed becomes available in the intensive care unit at James Cook Hospital, Middlesbrough, he will be transferred closer to home.

"Graham and his family want to thank everyone for their continued and overwhelming support."

Galway-born Lee rode more than 1,000 winners over the jumps, including Amberleigh House for trainer Ginger McCain in the 2004 Grand National.

He switched to riding on the Flat in 2012 and won the Gold Cup at Ascot three years later with Trip To Paris.