Injured Tamworth apprentice jockey Melanie Bolwell has reached a significant step in her recovery from a race fall.
Racing NSW reported on Monday via her father Jason that Melanie, 22, has been talking to hospital staff and family.
Doctors removed the breathing tube to allow Melanie to talk, but she remains in a critical, but stable condition at Gold Coast Hospital.
Melanie is expected to be transferred from ICU to a ward within the next two days.
The hoop was transferred to the Sunshine State from Warialda, the scene of a horrific three-horse fall on April 8 which claimed the life of fellow jockey Darren Jones, 49.
Leanne Henry has had surgery on her collarbone and is recovering at home.
Melanie, originally from Picton, is apprenticed to trainer Sue Grills.
She has ridden 13 winners from 177 rides, highlighted by the Boggabri Cup triumph aboard Smart Bet.