FORMER triple champion jockey Basil Marcus is battling to be fit to ride star galloper Mr Vitality at the opening meeting of the new Happy Valley track on Saturday.
The South African took an ugly fall from the fancied California Gold in last night's second event at Sha Tin as the field swung into the home straight.
He lay motionless until stretchered from the course by the medical services who were on the spot within seconds and was trying to sit up a little by the time he was loaded into the ambulance.
There was nothing broken but the tough-as-teak rider was badly shaken by the incident in which he was kicked by his mount.
The impression of the kick was clearly visible in his riding helmet and Marcus was sent to the nearby Prince Of Wales Hospital where he was detained overnight for observation.
His retaining trainer Ivan Allan was confident that Marcus would be fit for Saturday's meeting at the $1 billion revamped city circuit in which Mr Vitality will jump a near-unbackable favourite in the feature Happy Valley Trophy.
Allan, who had spoken to Marcus in hospital, said: 'Basil is all right but he's been very fortunate. He's undergone X-rays and is feeling okay in the circumstances.
'He's lucid and while he is being detained in hospital overnight, he will be out tomorrow and we're very confident he will be back riding at Happy Valley.' Director of Racing Philip Johnston said that Marcus would be double-declared with a standby rider but must pass a medical.
'We'll see how he goes and whether he's cleared by the doctors,' said Johnston.
After a close scrutiny of the stewards' footage on the big screen in the inquiry room, acting chief stipendiary steward Christopher Lee attributed the fall to California Gold clipping heels with Super Structure as they came off the home bend.