The boy mounted the horse barefoot, with only an ill-fitting Hello Kitty helmet to protect his head and a talisman under his clothing to give him the courage of his ancestors.

The last thing the boy, Firmansyah, 8, remembered about the ensuing race was being boxed in against two competing horses, spurred on by equally young bareback jockeys, as they galloped around the track. He lost his grip on the mane of his horse, Isidia, and fell.

Firmansyah doesn't remember hitting his head on the ramshackle wooden railings lining the racecourse or landing on his shoulder as the three horses

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