Downed Fradd 'very lucky' to escape serious injury, says Woods
Champion jockey Robbie Fradd was lucky to escape serious injury yesterday in a horrific fall on the all-weather track when his mount Night Hunter broke a leg in the sixth race. Fradd sustained a suspected broken nose and facial abrasions after being thrown to the ground as the Andy Leung Ting-wah-trained gelding collapsed about 700 metres from the finish of the 1,650-metre race.
Gold Charm and Pearl And Gold, who were following Night Hunter in midfield in the 14-runner event, narrowly avoided the stricken rider and horse, who shattered his near-fore leg and had to be put down.
The on-course medical team quickly attended to Fradd, who stayed on the ground for several minutes following the fall. He never lost consciousness in the incident but was bleeding from his facial injuries and was taken to Prince of Wales Hospital for further treatment. His injuries did not require surgery, but he was expected to be kept in overnight.
Wendyll Woods, who was tracking Fradd on Gold Charm when the accident occurred, said the South African was 'very lucky' to escape more serious injury after his mount narrowly managed to avoid the fallen rider.
'I was looking for a good position and I saw Robbie's mount on my inside and thought he would give me a nice lead to the finish. But as I went to drop in behind him, the horse just fell in front of me and my mount had to jump over him,' Woods said.
'I was fortunate not to come down as well, but Robbie was very lucky too. As I went past I looked down and saw my horse's back legs come up and just miss Robbie's head. It could have been very nasty, and it just goes to show the risks we take every time we go out to ride.'
Fradd is lying second in the jockey standings, seven winners behind countryman Douglas Whyte, but it was unclear last night whether he would miss Wednesday's mixed meeting at Sha Tin. Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, the Jockey Club's director of racing, said: 'He will be kept in hospital overnight for observation. It is too early to say whether he will be able to ride on Wednesday night, but we will know more tomorrow.'
Engelbrecht-Bresges added that he was satisfied with the condition of the track and said Night Hunter had not made contact with another runner before the fall. 'The horse just broke a leg, it's as simple as that. It was a freak accident and I don't think anyone is to blame.'
The race went to Flags Up, whose trainer Geoff Lane said Fradd's accident had 'taken the gloss off the win'. The seven-year-old was clear of the trouble as he tracked the pacesetting Lion's Share before taking the lead early in the straight and he ran on well under Craig Williams to hold off Chinesesport Glory by three-quarters of a length.
Flags Up was scoring his third win from five starts on the all-weather, but Lane said: 'I wouldn't say he's better on dirt, but he handles it well. I think he can win on turf too.'