Prebble out of action for weeks after serious fall
Hong Kong showed it was far from immune to race falls yesterday when spectacular tumbles in the first and last races at Sha Tin left top jockey Brett Prebble and leading apprentice Vincent Ho Chak-yiu sprawled on the turf with upper body and arm fractures.
Serious falls have been mercifully absent from Hong Kong racing in recent seasons but that changed in the blink of an eye when Prebble suffered a fractured collarbone in the first race that will keep him out of action for at least five weeks. Ho's crash in the final event looked even nastier before he was assessed with a fractured left forearm.
Probing for a tight run on the outside of the leader, Bullish King, Ho's mount Guru's Dream was suddenly sandwiched between that horse and Happy Reunion with nowhere to go but down as he struck their heels.
Ho was hurled to the ground and struck by his own falling horse. Adoration, which was following Ho and Guru's Dream, could not avoid the apprentice and galloped over him, appearing to clip him with one of its hooves on the way through.
Ho was conscious but rushed to nearby Prince of Wales hospital for a CT scan. It was initially suspected that he had broken both his left leg and arm. While the apprentice was later cleared of any leg break, Jockey Club officials confirmed Ho had suffered a fractured left forearm.
Ho reported to club officials that he heard 'a loud bang like a gun going off' which may have been as Adoration made contact with his arm.
Any stewards' inquiry into the cause of Ho's fall will be held when the apprentice is fit enough to give evidence. Prebble, however, was quickly back to the races before halfway through the meeting, with his broken left collarbone strapped, and was ready to take part in the inquiry into his race-one fall.
Prebble (Telecom Top Star) came to grief turning into the straight as Rocket And Gold (Howard Cheng Yue-tin) was looking to come out from inside him to make his final run.
The stewards threw the book at Cheng after a guilty plea to a charge of careless riding. The freelance rider was banned for seven racing days, with his punishment to start after February 29. That that will take Cheng out for nearly all of March.
Prebble's pain only got worse after substitute rider Gerald Mosse guided Mighty K to victory for trainer Caspar Fownes in the fifth race.