LEADING Sydney jockey Peter Robl was airlifted to Newcastle’s John Hunter Hospital yesterday after he was involved in a nasty fall soon after the start of the first race, a 1400-metre maiden at Scone.
Robl was complaining of no feeling in his legs when ambulance paramedics reached him and they called for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter, which was in the air at the time and landed about 15 minutes after the incident.
By then, Robl told ambulance officers he was starting to get feeling back in his legs but was still flown to Newcastle as a precaution.
Robl was riding the David Vandyke-trained In My Image which bucked soon after the start, threw Robl and then crashed through the inside plastic running rail.
The Paul Perry-trained Abbey Mews was following and was bumped by the riderless horse, dislodging apprentice Rachael Murray.
She was complaining of a headache and taken by ambulance to Scone hospital as a precaution.
Neither horse was injured in the fall.
In My Image got herself back on to the course proper and cantered to the winning post with the saddle around her flanks, the reins trailing behind her front legs and with a broken breast plate.
Chief steward Shane Cullen said the gear had been inspected after the fall and it was found that the breast plate, surcingle and girth were all new and in good order.
He also said there had been no issue with the way the horse had been saddled.
Stewards opened an inquiry and took evidence from several jockeys before adjourning it until Robl is well enough to give evidence.
Vandyke and a new client to his stable, Jack O’Connor, won the following race, the Three Year Old Maiden (1300m) with Third Degree.
Robl was to have ridden the filly but was replaced by Mitchell Bell.
There was drama soon after the start in that race when the Stephen Farley-trained Marjessie stumbled and Grant Buckley was dislodged.
Buckley was unhurt and hitched a ride back to the jockeys’ room in the ambulance.
Vandyke said Third Degree was one of the reasons he had been able to convince Robl to ride at the meeting.
“He rode her in both her trials for me and really liked her,” Vandyke said.
“We targeted this race two months ago for her.
“She is a filly with a future, particularly over more ground and we wanted to get her on to a big track and teach her how to win.
“It is good to get a win with her but in the big picture this has not been a good day.
“As soon as I am finished here I am heading to Newcastle to see Peter.”