Elation as Dye makes progress

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 June, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 June, 2006, 12:00am

'Dyesy's back!' The emotions behind the words uttered by Shane Dye's girlfriend, Kelly Walker, were incredible elation and sheer relief as one of Hong Kong's best jockeys made an amazingly rapid recovery from Sunday's emergency brain surgery.

The morning bulletin from the Intensive Care Unit at Prince of Wales Hospital in Sha Tin was that Dye's condition was 'stable' in the wake of Sunday's heavy fall from Ambitious Marju in the second race.

But by 7pm last night, the jockey had been visited by a number of friends, family and Jockey Club officials and all were staggered at his progress.

'I've been with him for about an hour, but he's sleeping again now - a lovely deep sleep,' Walker said. 'He was talking well, thinking straight and even cracking jokes and giving cheek. It's just amazing how far he's come today. Dyesy's back!'

Former champion Australian jockey Mick Dittman flew in from Singapore yesterday morning to see his long-time friend and one-time rival, and was also highly relieved.

'On Sunday night we were fearing the worst,' Dittman said. 'A heavy fall, bleeding in the brain, and an emergency operation to relieve pressure in the brain, it doesn't get much worse than that.

'But even though he had a tube down his throat when I saw him, and couldn't speak, he was communicating by writing notes. The writing was smooth, his mind seemed 100 per cent. He was even having a joke with us.'

Trainer Danny Shum Chap-shing, for whom Dye has been the retained rider this season, left the hospital at 6.45pm after visiting the New Zealand champion.

'I'm very relieved,' said Shum. 'Shane doesn't remember anything about the fall, but his mind is sharp. He wanted to know if Royal Delight won the Class One at Sha Tin on Sunday. I told him he ran fifth, but he missed you. He was disappointed the horse was beaten.'

Dye's ex-wife, Karla, and her second husband, Paul Langmack, arrived from Sydney late afternoon, together with Dye's first son, Nicholas. They were picked up at the airport by another trainer, Caspar Fownes, and taken to the hospital.

Fownes had also visited Dye earlier and was upbeat about the jockey's short-term progress. 'He's moving his arms and legs, and the doctors are happy with the tests done so far. But there is still a lot of bruising and swelling.'

The Hong Kong Racehorse Owners association sent Dye flowers, and many professionals from the racing industry dropped by to visit, but very few were actually allowed in. Most left hand-written notes for Dye to read later.

Doctors overseeing his condition said Dye remained in the intensive care unit, though he is now out of danger and may be moved from ICU today.

'We are working closely with the hospital to provide Shane with the best possible treatment and we are in regular contact with his medical team,' said Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, the Jockey Club's executive director of racing. 'We will issue further updates on his condition when news becomes available and in the meantime I hope everyone can join me in wishing Shane a very speedy recovery.'

Paul O'Sullivan, the trainer of Ambitious Marju, said the international concern for Dye was 'just amazing'.

'I couldn't count the number of calls I've taken today, from everywhere, with people concerned about Shane,' O'Sullivan said. 'I'm just so glad we've got some better news to give them.'