Veteran jockey Darren Gauci is sore and sorry this morning but amazingly has suffered no structural damage from his nasty race fall at Bendigo yesterday.
Gauci was riding Royal Mephisto in the Showcase 0-64 Handicap at (1600m) yesterday and the Royal Academy entire shot through a narrow gap and loomed as the winner in the final stages of the race before crashing heavily with just under 100 metres left to run.
The Group 1 winning jockey only narrowly avoided being rolled on by Royal Mephisto, with the five-year-old also avoiding serious injury, and was extremely fortunate not to be galloped on by one of the other runners in the field.
Gauci was taken to Bendigo Hospital for x-rays, complaining of a swollen wrist, a bloody nose and general soreness, but he was given the all clear by doctors and had suffered no structural damage; with the popular rider eyeing a return to the saddle next week.
The 47-year-old has had a history of nasty race falls during his lengthy riding career and he was kept out of racing for almost a year in 2011 when a horse he was riding at Mornington had a heart attack and crashed through the inside rail.
Gauci has not won a Group 1 race in a number of years but he remains one of the most consistent riders on the Victoria Provincial circuit and his impressive racing resume includes victories in the Epsom Handicap, Doncaster Handicap, Stradbroke Handicap, Caulfield Guineas and Thousand Guineas well as three second place finishes in the Melbourne Cup.
It is has been a bad week for jockeys, with Jordan Childs and Peter Mertens both seriously injured after a fall at Hamilton on Monday and Ben Melham forced into surgery on both of his hips, but there will be some good news on Friday night when Michael Rodd returns to the saddle.
Rodd suffered two cracked rips after being thrown from a horse during trackwork last week and has missed several days of racing but has a chance to immediately return to winning form when he partners Pescara Lad, Awasita and Just Junior at Moonee Valley.
The leading jockey has a quiet day at Caulfield on Saturday; with Robbie Griffiths-trained Flash Of Doubt, in the East Malvern Community Bank Handicap, his only ride on the eight race card.