Leading Victorian apprentice Katelyn Mallyon has been placed in an induced coma in Royal Melbourne Hospital after being concussed and sustaining back and facial injuries resulting from a heavy fall at Flemington on Saturday.
Mallyon hit the turf hard at the 150m in the second last race of the day when her mount Deliver The Dream fell and threw her heavily resulting in the young jockey being diagnosed with a broken T6 vertebra which is likely to require surgery and a fractured cheekbone.
The young apprentice is the third female jockey to suffer spinal injuries in the last couple of months in Victoria with Louise Cooper looking unlikely to walk again after a fall at Edenhope in March and Michelle Payne will be out of the saddle for up to six weeks after a fall at Donald last week resulting in five fractured vertebrae and several broken ribs.
Queensland jockey Kristy Banks also suffered severe spinal injuries in a fall at Toowoomba on December 31 last year and is restricted to a wheel chair.
Payne and Mallyon’s brother Andrew were at her side in hospital when she was placed in a coma to assist in the recovery of the broken vertebra and released a message via twitter.
“Kate has been placed in induced coma to assist in keeping her still for her back injury,” Andrew Mallyon tweeted.
Mallyon leads the Victorian apprentice’s premiership with fifty-seven wins and rode a winner earlier in the day, The New Boy, for trainer Danny O’Brien.
But O’Brien was critical of the Flemington track after several horses broke down with Absolute Spirit and Sparks Burn having to be put down as a result of their injuries.
Racing Victroia Stewards took offence at O’Brien posting comments about the condition of the Flemington track on Twitter and the trainer will have to face Stewards again at an adjourned inquiry.
“The track is not up to standard for Melbourne’s premier track. They have cored the track so that the horses don’t go to the same area as they did in the previous meeting and as a result they are racing tight and falls are happening,” O’Brien said.
“I wouldn’t think there would be another track in Australia which would be cored or sliced in the lead up to a meeting,” he said.
“This has been going on since the Australian Cup day meeting from March 2010.”
“The track is 30m wide and all the jockeys are looking to ride on a 5m strip, which causes tightening. It’s about making sure the winners don’t come down the same section of the track as they did at the previous meeting.”
“The track is a disgrace. There’s no kikuyu grass and horses are slipping. It’s not up to standard.”
Experienced jockey Dwayne Dunn said that the track was disappointing but Danny Nikolic didn’t blame the track for the breakdown of the two horses he rode, Absolute Spirit and Mr Riggs.
“We don’t race here that often and it’s not what it should be. I’m not sure why it needs to be treated in the lead-up to the meeting,” Dunn said.