Racing: Jockey uses up all her luck

By Mike Dillon

The Hassler, with Michael Coleman aboard, wins the Valachi Downs Championship Stakes. Photo / Trish Dunell
The Hassler, with Michael Coleman aboard, wins the Valachi Downs Championship Stakes. Photo / Trish Dunell

Waste of time Danielle Johnson taking a Lotto ticket this week - she used up every spot of her luck in her sickening fall in Saturday's Valachi Downs $100,000 Championship Stakes at Ellerslie.

Johnson looked to be in terrible trouble when she crashed heavily from the favourite Romantic Maid just past the winning post with a round to travel, being galloped on by at least one runner behind.

Hospital tests late on Saturday revealed no more than a possible cracked bone in a hand.

Medics, fearing the worst, would not move Johnson the four metres to safety under the inside running rail and track staff and clerks of the course were left to attempt to avoid tragedy by alerting jockeys of the danger as they finished the race.

Having the favourite out of the race after just 200m was bad enough, but the aftermath was much worse. One of the worst affected was Thunder Down Under, who looked a potential danger to the winner The Hassler at the 220m.

When asked by stewards why he had stopped riding Thunder Down Under from the 200m, jockey Jonathan Parkes said he was distracted by people on the track waving their arms and didn't ride his mount hard to the finish. Instead of picking up the second-placed cheque for $19,500, Thunder Down Under's owners were relegated to $2500 for fifth when the horse was swamped by three runner in the final strides.

The riderless Romantic Maid created havoc when she galloped around the field to lead down the back straight. She interfered with several runners and Mark Du Plessis claimed it cost third-placed Sonorous the race.

Vinny Colgan seized the moment to push The Hassler through to the lead when Romantic Maid took those on her outside even wider to near the centre of the track. The Hassler had luck on his side, but he is a much improved type and looks a real staying star of the future.

History repeated itself for Wexford Stables when Sound Proposition came off the ballot to win the group one Manco Easter Stakes.

The win came 31 years after Eastern Joy, trained by Dave and Paul O'Sullivan and ridden by Lance O'Sullivan, also got a late call-up into the Easter field and came up trumps.

"Eastern Joy got in at 7.20am on race morning - Dad [Dave] reminded me of that," said Lance O'Sullivan, who trains Sound Proposition in partnership with Andrew Scott.

"It was a great win and I'm thrilled for all the staff at home. Andrew and all the team have done a great job and Darren Weatherley rides him in work every morning."

- additional reporting NZ Racing Desk

- NZ Herald

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