The circumstances weren't ideal, but Peter Wells has admitted the mental benefit derived from nearly eight months of physical pain will help him relaunch a stalled career in the saddle.
The former champion Sydney apprentice will ease back into race riding with two mounts at Canterbury tonight, his first since crashing to the turf in a horrific Kembla Grange fall in May.
Wells, who had earlier ridden three winners on the day, suffered multiple fractures after Let Me Finish broke down when quickening at the top of the straight.
After surgery and intense physiotherapy, Wells has finally been given clearance on a troublesome wrist which has hampered his recovery.
He will partner Michael Costa's Lining (race three) and Little Gulliver (eight) in a low-key return, before steering the Terry Robinson-trained Emperator at Warwick Farm tomorrow.
Doctors have given the former Jamberoo hoop approval to take a maximum of two bookings in his first week back and Wells is already seeing the benefits of the untimely break.
"I had no choice in it, but it hasn't been too bad freshening the mind back up," he said.
"I've been riding pretty well consistently for seven or eight years now. Throughout your apprenticeship you don't stop grinding away and I've had a good eight months off now.
"It's freshened me up and I'm keen to get back into it."
Wells says his wrist gives him "manageable" pain at night, but it will not hinder his ability to get the best out of his horses.
"While I'm riding it doesn't worry me at all," he said. "Everything else pretty much fixed itself up pretty quick, but the wrist just lagged behind.
"I'm sure it will take a few rides to fall back into place and we'll go onwards and upwards from there."
Robinson's veteran Emperator has not beaten a horse home in his past four starts, but drops considerably in grade for tomorrow's Benchmark 75 Handicap (1600 metres).
Wells's affinity with the horse stretches back to when he rode the gelding to multiple city wins under the care of Graeme Rogerson.
"He's a much better horse than what his form suggests," Wells said. "He's a lovely horse and I'm sure Terry will work him out. He said he has changed a couple of things and hopefully we'll see a better horse on the racetrack.
"He's definitely got the ability there - it's just a matter of whether he's going to put it down on race day."