Mature-age apprentice Louise Dillon and senior jockey Melissa Cox both face lengthy stints on the side-lines after suffering nasty falls in the same race at the Bundaberg meeting on Tuesday.
Melissa was the first casualty when she fell from Axis at around the 1000m-mark of the 1212m event, while Louise on Gambit was unable to avoid the incident and she too was dislodged.
Melissa broke her arm, while Louise suffered two fractures in her lower back but was released from Bundaberg Hospital on Wednesday and returned home to Caloundra. Her partner and horse trainer Brendan Jones, a former Queensland Country cricket representative who played the 2012-13 season in the Rum City, admitted that it could have been worse.
Thankfully both horses were unharmed with Gambit continuing on and leading the field home rider-less.
Thabeban Park had been a happy hunting ground for 37-year-old Louise, whom Brendan said moved to Queensland from her native New Zealand after the earthquake struck Christchurch in February 2016.
She decided she wanted to become a jockey after previously riding a lot of trackwork in her homeland, including with Damian Browne before he moved across the Tasman to become a top Sydney rider.
Brendan said Louise, who is apprenticed to trainer John Holcombe, became part of history when she out-rode her 4kg claim after claiming a double and a treble at her first two days race riding at Mt Isa and Cloncurry respectively in September 2016, and she now has a total of 29 career victories.
Louise ventured to Bundaberg for the first time in May 2018 and has enjoyed great success here since, although she was out of action for seven months after breaking her hand in a trackwork incident in July that year.
Brendan said Louise, who has a 17-year-old son Jordan who also lives with them, had also led the Gympie jockeys’ premiership race at the time when racing there was suspended due to COVID-19 in March.
Brendan said Louise is “still battered and bruised and sore” and the current diagnosis is that it could be up to three months before she can ride again.
“But she is moving around and in pretty good spirits all things considered and is pretty keen to get back in the saddle,” he said.
In the meantime, Brendan will continue with the four horses he has got in work.
Tuesday’s meeting was again dominated by female jockeys, winning five of the six events with 24-year-old apprentice Isabella Rabjones, who only resumed her career in January after a four and a half-year absence, booting home a double for Bundaberg trainers Mary Hassam and Darryl Gardiner aboard Ubirr Rock (Benchmark 65) and Crisscross in the race in which Melissa and Louise fell.
It was also another double for Darryl, who took out the open handicap earlier in the afternoon with Al’s Briefs.
Gympie trainer Cherie Vick also tasted dual success with El Nino’s Choice (maiden) and Nicco’s Lass (Benchmark 60).
The spoils were also shared around at Monday’s weekly Bundaberg Greyhound Racing Club meeting but Buccan trainer Brett Hazelgrove was in the money twice in the Novice event, grabbing the quinella with rank-outsider Extra Coins and hot favourite Mr Eddie, respectively.
- Related stories: Bundaberg's Kaufusi primed for NRL return