Dunn facing two months on sidelines

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 March, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 March, 2001, 12:00am

Australian jockey Dwayne Dunn could leave hospital as early as today, but may not ride for two months following Wednesday night's Happy Valley fall.

Dunn fell from Sallian Express in the third event after an incident passing the 500-metre mark on the point of the home turn involving Core Principles and Win Happiness.

The injury will end the Adelaide-based rider's Hong Kong term after just a couple of weeks and Jockey Club officials have contacted English rider Tony Culhane, who looks set to be Dunn's replacement from early next month.

Although information given to the Jockey Club late on Wednesday night was that Dunn had sustained two suspected cracked ribs, subsequent tests have revealed that the pain he was suffering emanated from a cracked vertebrae in the middle upper back.

The Jockey Club's executive director of racing, Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, visited Dunn yesterday afternoon and reported that he was 'relatively fine' and optimistic about an early release from Queen Mary Hospital.

'He is still undergoing further X-rays and he won't be cleared until those results are known,' he said. 'Dwayne is hopeful he can leave hospital [today], but the doctors say the healing could take anywhere from two weeks to two months. This is terrible luck for Dwayne, but we have to take some comfort from the fact that at least it was nothing more serious than it is.'

Engelbrecht-Bresges confirmed that the Jockey Club was keen to keep the available jockey numbers at 'around the 20 to 22 mark' and had contacted Culhane. He described Culhane as 'hardworking and tough' and likened him to popular Irishman, John Egan, who is enjoying such a fine season.

Culhane is ranked among the top six performers in the English jockeys' championship.