The subject of one of the most viewed harness racing photos in the world this year is already eyeing up a comeback to the race track in the very near future.
Well-respected horseman Terry Chmiel has been on a rest and recuperation diet since a fall on Show Day at Addington that saw a photo of him flying through the air shared right around the world.
Chmiel's drive, Divinia Bellezza, crashed into the back of a rival runner, who incidentally also happened to be her stablemate, and her driver, Robbie Close, was also flung on to the track.
"I can remember seeing Robbie's going rough in front of me and thinking that I needed to get out his way," Chmiel said.
"But there wasn't anywhere to go and the next minute I was flying through the air. I can remember the pain when I hit the ground, but other than that there's not much more I can remember."
Chmiel was taken to hospital where it was revealed he had broken his ankle and heel in the fall.
"The pain told me it was something serious, but I was also worried about where the horses behind me were too. That's why I dragged myself onto the inside of the track. I didn't know there'd been a fall further back in the field, so it actually probably worked out okay for me in that sense."
Chmiel has had a plate and screws inserted into the foot and is heading back to the doctors this week for a progress report to hopefully get a timeline on when he might be able to get back into things properly.
"Initially the hope was that I might be getting back on track by the end of December, but we'll just have to wait and see what they say this week."
It wasn't until much later that Chmiel first saw the image which was captured by renowned racing photographer, Ajay Berry.
"When I first saw it, I couldn't believe how high I had got in the air, it was pretty incredible to see that perspective."
Being stuck on crutches with a cast hasn't been a whole lot of fun, especially at this time of the year when he'd normally be busy driving at race meetings around Canterbury and further afield. "We've got a nice wee team of horses at home too which doesn't make it any easier. It's been a little frustrating."
Chmiel was the only driver injured in the incident and all horses involved were treated for minor abrasions but other than that, came through the incident unscathed.
- NZ Harness News