Inverell harness racing was conducting a perfect Carnival of Cups meeting on Sunday - until a serious fall during the Inverell Cup.
With horses racing at about 60km/h, the fall occurred not long after the point of release - with Tamworth horsewomen Sarah Rushbrook and Elly Chapple falling heavily and having to be conveyed to Lismore Hospital with severe injuries.
Rushbrook has undergone surgery for two breaks to her femur. She also suffered cracked ribs. A verdict will be made soon on whether she needs to head to the Gold Coast Hospital for a back operation.
Chapple was conveyed from Lismore Hospital back to Tamworth Hospital and underwent surgery on Wednesday for a broken elbow. She was looking to be discharged soon.
Hunter Valley reinsmen Jake Hughes and Brad Elder were also involved in the fall, with them sustaining a lot of bruising after being dislodged from their gigs.
All the horses involved in the accident escaped injury.
There were plenty of notable winners from the Inverell meeting, with the Ernie Mabbott-trained and Anthony Varga-driven Spikeador taking out the opening event. Spikeador is a former metro pacer who was having her first race start for the Mabbott stables.
Fellow Tamworth trainer Greg Coney then saw Casino Comedy, driven by Madi Young, take out the Liberty Junction Service Station/Inverell RSM Club Pace.
Hunter Valley pacer Only When I Play broke through for his first career win, at race start 31. Trained by Shane Harmey, it was Tom Ison who guided the five-year-old gelding to a whopping 27.6-metre win.
Maddison Simon then had a rewarding win with Sir Cracker, who is trained by her grandfather Len Simon, in the Best Employment/Bob Winkworth Signs Pace. The winning margin was 11m, and it paid $26.
Sam Ison then took an inside run to take out what turned out to be the final race of the program - with Point Oh Five winning the TAB Odds & Evens Pace by a head over Commanche (Scotty-Jon Welsh) and paying a good return of $35.
The Inverell Harness Racing Club, headed up by president Rod Miller, host two meetings for the year and it has been a hard job for the small committee, with the first meeting washed out back in early March due to a freak storm that washed away the track surface, and then their major meeting saw the race fall and the final two races on the program abandoned.
HARNESS in NSW has been divided into regions due to the COVID-19 virus, with the Golden Guitar Paceway Tamworth and the Newcastle International Paceway combining to be called the Northern Region.
Racing will also be conducted at the Riverina Paceway Wagga Wagga (Southern Region), the Gold Crown Paceway Bathurst (Western) and the TAB Corp Park Menangle and Penrith (Metropolitan). These are the only tracks you will see harness racing conducted.
Trainers and drivers can only compete in their respective region.
With very strong bio-security regulations in place, only trainers and drivers can be engaged in meetings, plus one stablehand from each stable and Harness Racing NSW staff.