Comeback jockey Teo Nugent has scored a Melbourne Cup ride from his old boss Ciaron Maher just eight months after a narrowly avoided becoming a paraplegic in a horrific race fall at Moonee Valley. Nugent is under no illusions he's getting a second chance at his career - and his life - admitting it all "flashed before my eyes" when his world came crashing down after falling from Florescent in March. He fractured his C1 vertebrae and doctors were unsure if he would make a full recovery, telling Nugent he had a 50 per cent chance of being in a wheelchair if they operated. It took him five months to recover from the neck and concussion issues and just weeks after his return, he's hoping teaming up with Maher and David Eustace - the defending champion trainers of last year's Melbourne Cup - after they worked together to finish fourth in 2021 and third last year. It's a remarkable opportunity given Nugent's injury concerns, but he has vowed to make the most of his chance aboard Interpretation. "I'm lucky I'm not a paraplegic," Nugent told this masthead. "I saw my life flash before my eyes following the race fall. I've got a second chance and I know how lucky I am. "It was touch and go there for a fair while. The surgeons said I was only a couple of millimetres away from being a paraplegic. "They gave me the option of having an operation or letting it heal naturally. They told me if they operated it was a 50 per cent chance I would end up in a wheelchair so I decided to let it heal naturally. "It took a fair while for it to heal but it was the best way. The surgeons said I was extremely lucky where I had the break in my neck. "I suffered bad concussion as a result of the fall. I kept on repeating things to my partner Clare Chermside and my dad John for months. "I never realised I was always repeating myself. It must have very frustrating for both of them. I couldn't put my socks on and Clare used to wash me and dress me as I had a big collar around my neck for months." Nugent, who has only been back riding for a month put his hand up for the ride on the lightweight Interpretation following his narrow win in the Bendigo Cup last Wednesday. "I sent Ciaron a message after Interpretation won the Bendigo Cup," he said. "I just said, 'boss I'm ready to ride him in the Melbourne Cup if I'm needed'. Ciaron said wait and see. It was on Friday I found out for sure that I had the ride after Ciaron spoke to Interpretation's owners. "It's a huge thrill to get another go to win the Melbourne Cup. I've got some unfinished business in the Melbourne Cup, now that I've run third and fourth I would dearly love to win one, not only for me but for Ciaron and Dave who have been wonderful supporters of mine plus the owners of Interpretation. "They have all shown great faith in me. My whole outlook on life has changed pretty significantly since the fall. I sort of look at things in a different way. "I don't take things for granted. It's a dangerous business being a jockey but it gives you a great adrenaline buzz and I just love horses and riding them." Maher said it was an obvious choice to give his former apprentice the ride on the import in the Melbourne Cup. "It's wonderful to give Teo another ride in the big feature," Maher said. "Teo has done an incredible job getting back on-track after his fall. He's a credit to himself for what he's done in his life. "It was always in the back of my mind to put Teo on Interpretation after the horse won the Bendigo Cup. Teo has got an excellent record in the two mile race. "He's a very cool rider and is very focused. He doesn't get flustered. He's got a great understanding of what is needed in the Melbourne Cup. "The big thing about riding in the Melbourne Cup is not too get caught up in the hype. Teo has shown with his two rides for us on High Emocean and Floating Artist he's fully focused. "Teo understands the race goes up another gear at the 800 metre mark and at that stage you've got to have it worked out who is going to take you into the race and he's had the right on two previous occasions." Interpretation is a $61 chance in the early betting markets to win Australia's most famous horse race. Nugent, who has ridden 346 winners in his career including a Group One in the 2021 Oakleigh Plate on Portland Sky, has two other rides on the big Melbourne Cup Day program.