In the first sentencing of its kind in New Zealand, a prominent horse trainer has been ordered to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to a young rider who will never walk again. But the judge also critised a system which he says offers no true compensation. Sam Hurley reports.

One of New Zealand's top racehorse trainers has been fined and ordered to pay more than $370,000 in reparation after a young, aspirational female jockey was left a tetraplegic.

In 2016, Sophia Malthus was left paralysed after the then 19-year-old came off a horse at one of Stephen McKee's stables near Ardmore in Auckland.

The trainer, with some 31 years of experience, pleaded guilty earlier this year to one charge of exposing a person to risk of serious harm or death after a WorkSafe NZ investigation.

On Friday afternoon he was sentenced in the Auckland District Court by Judge Noel