JOCKEY Aidan MacDonald's doctors are said to be happy with his progress after he was rushed to hospital in a critical condition, a fortnight after a crashing fall at Hexham.

MacDonald was riding the Micky Hammond-trained Russian Royale in the Welcome To Hexham 2021 Conditional Jockeys’ Mares’ Handicap Hurdle on March 18 when he fell three flights from home.

While he went to hospital on the day and was later discharged, he was readmitted after being taken ill on Wednesday last week when he collapsed in Middleham. Hammond said: “Andrew Bacon, the ex-jockey, was on his way to work at Mark Johnston’s and he cradled Aidan for more than an hour. And Tony Hewson in the village shop was brilliant too.”

An air ambulance arrived but MacDonald was felt not to be up to travelling by helicopter and was taken to hospital by road.

He was said to be in a critical condition and receiving treatment for a suspected carotid artery dissection last Thursday, but Hammond issued a more upbeat bulletin on Friday.

The trainer tweeted: “Update on Aidan MacDonald – the bleed has now been cleared. He is speaking in sentences and can feel and move his fingers. A long road ahead but what a warrior, we still ask for privacy for his family at this difficult time. But what positive news.”

On Tuesday, Middleham-based Hammond added: "Good news – this morning he has been up and walked for the first time. Flexed biceps, he’s in good spirits and said the doctors are happy with his progress."

MacDonald, 21, is originally from Hawick in the Scottish borders and started out in pony races, but has ridden three winners for Hammond after joining his yard on a permanent basis in 2016, having previously ridden out there.