Tough King aims to reign again

HORSE RACING

Anyone still wanting to question the toughness of the little men in the saddle?

Maybe they should watch a replay of Paul King's last ride, in which he managed to stay up despite the excruciating pain of a fractured kneecap.

In a horror couple of months for hoops, punctuated by the serious falls to top Sydney hoops Peter Robl and Kathy O'Hara last week, the Group 1-winning King has revealed how he became the latest victim.

The veteran rider managed to stay aboard Gerald Ryan's Helnho at Kembla Grange despite striking his leg against the starting gate as the horse lunged inwards when the field was released.

"I knew straight away I broke it," he said. "Metal on bone and the metal won.

"Basically around to the 500 [metres] I was useless on the horse and it was just a matter of trying to stay on and then it eased off a little bit and I thought maybe I've just corked it.

"I went to push the horse out for 50 metres and then just stopped because it was evident then I had done some damage to it."

King was taken to Wollongong Hospital and had two screws inserted into his knee during surgery on Sunday morning. He's likely to be out of the saddle for six weeks.

Amazingly Helnho managed to beat a runner home in the race, but it didn't help ease King's pain as he now nurses a "very sore and swollen" knee.

King has been a household name in Perth for many years and has also ridden for Qatari royal Sheikh Fahad Al Thani, the owner of Melbourne Cup winner Dunaden.

And his attempt to establish himself in NSW won't be helped by the latest setback.

"I had one of Gai's on Saturday [too] and you start kicking along with a few quality trainers and then this happens," King said. "But that's racing. Every time you get on them you've got to expect to fall off them or get injured.

"I'll take the six weeks at the moment and do plenty of rehab when I'm allowed. We've had injuries before and we keep coming back ... ," King said.

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