Horse race 'like normal' before deadly fall

By John Gibb of the Otago Daily Times

Ashlee Mundy. Photo / Otago Daily Times
Ashlee Mundy. Photo / Otago Daily Times

Two Wingatui jockeys have told a coroner's inquest how a race at Kurow in 2012 had gone ''like normal'' before a fall which led to the death of jockey Ashlee Mundy.

After a morning of sometimes emotional testimony,

Dunedin coroner David Crerar today thanked two young jockeys who had given evidence at a coroner's hearing into the death of Ms Mundy in a race fall at Kurow in 2012.

Ms Mundy, 26, died at Dunedin Hospital after receiving head injuries when the horse she was riding fell about half way through a 1400m race at the Kurow Racecourse on December 30.

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Two jockeys, Toni Direen, 20, and Courtney Barnes, 19, gave evidence yesterday about what they had experienced during the race, which was part of the annual Kurow Jockey Club race meeting.

Ms Direen said that everything had earlier gone ''like a normal race'' but when the field had started the turn at the 800m mark, she had seen Ms Mundy's horse go down in front of her.

''It happened really fast and I didn't hear or see anything prior to Ashlee falling,'' she said.

She and her horse had had ''nowhere to go'' and her horse had instinctively jumped over the fallen horse.

The sudden movement and landing had dislodged her and she fell off the left side of her horse, ending up on the track about 10ms from Ashlee.

She was not seriously injured.

During part of her evidence, Ms Direen became visibly upset, and was supported by her mother.

Ms Barnes was also visibly affected by the loss of a fellow jockey and friend, during her testimony.


Ashlee Mundy in action.

At the close of the morning session, Mr Crerar warmly thanked the two jockeys for their help, and said he had appreciated that giving evidence had been a difficult task under the circumstances.

He realised how hard it had been for them to relive their earlier experiences, and said evidence had been a big help.

From the hearing, including their input, more would be learned and ''we'll make your industry safer if we can,'' he said.

The hearing continues this afternoon.

- Otago Daily Times

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