On October 8, Henry Brooke was airlifted to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle after suffering a second flight fall in a handicap chase at Hexham.

He was placed in an induced coma to assist with his breathing before he left the track in the air ambulance.

It was subsequently discovered that his injuries included a collapsed lung, eight broken ribs and a fractured shoulder blade.

Yet seven weeks on, Brooke made his return to the saddle on Wednesday aboard the Martin Todhunter-trained Sophia Olivia at Catterick.

The pair finished fourth in the concluding Intermediate National Hunt Flat Race just shy of two miles.

Brooke said: “It was good to be back. I felt fine, I am fit enough – I just miss that little bit of race-riding fitness but that will come. I feel better after getting that out of the way, it is back to normal now without all the press.”

Twelve months ago, Brooke secured arguably the biggest triumph of his career to date when partnering Highland Lodge to win the Grade 3 Becher Handicap Chase over the Grand National fences.

In the colours of Bowes Lodge Stables, the ten-year-old son of Flemensfirth was that day winning for the first time in three years in what was his debut for trainer Jimmy Moffatt.

If Brooke can steer the gelding to victory he will become the first horse to notch back-to-back triumphs in the three mile and two furlong contest. He will also join Into The Red and Hello Bud, the only horses to have won the prize twice in its history.

“I can’t wait for Highland Lodge at Aintree on Saturday. He felt great when I rode him the other day, better than he did last year, so I am looking forward to it. Jimmy Moffatt said all the way through that if I made it back, the ride was mine and that was the perfect motivation. I owe him a thank you.” added Brooke.