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Terrifying race fall in the home straight at Grafton

Emma Pritchard

Three jockeys were lucky to escape serious injuries after being involved in a fall in the closing stages of Race 1 at Grafton on March 29.

The incident occurred near the 150m in the Dwayne Schmidt 2020 Leading Trainer Maiden Plate over 10:20m, as horrified racegoers watched from the grandstand. Apprentice jockey Emily Atkinson was riding the Toby and Trent Edmonds trained Gold Coast galloper So Super, who was having its first race start, when the three-year-old gelding appeared to clip heels when going for an inside run on the rails and fell, resulting in horse and rider crashing to the turf.

Unable to avoid the stricken horse and rider, fellow jockey Luke Rolls, who was riding three-year-old gelding Cutting Loose for local trainer Samantha McGuren, had no time to react and also came down. Cutting Loose could do nothing to avoid contact with So Super, which lay sprawled on the track ahead, and stumbled into the fallen horse before he and Rolls crashed into the running rail.

So Super quickly got to its feet following the incident. Unfortunately, the panicked gelding galloped directly into the path of the Angela Plumb trained four-year-old gelding Baltic Cavalier, another first starter, who was racing at the rear of the field and had avoided the initial fall.

Jockey Tennille Gray could do nothing to avoid a collision and was thrown over her mount’s head as So Super made contact with Baltic Cavalier. While Rolls was able to make his way back to the jockey’s room unaided, Ms Atkinson and Ms Gray were both taken to hospital after complaining of back pain and arm pain. In a statement released by Racing NSW, it was revealed that both jockeys were cleared of major injuries after their scans appeared normal.

The three horses involved in the incident also escaped serious injuries and galloped across the line riderless. The race was won by consistent filly Love A Diamond, trained at Grafton by the race’s namesake Dwayne Schmidt and ridden by Ben Looker. Love A Diamond was one of the top picks in betting and started the race as the $4 favorite.