Valley fall has club scrambling

Jockeys thin on the ground because of Wednesday pile-up plus pre-existing suspensions

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 June, 2013, 4:10am

The Jockey Club has been "caught on the hop" with jockey suspensions and injuries after the ugly five-horse crash at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.

Eddie Lai Wai-ming joined the casualties yesterday and will miss Sunday's meeting at Sha Tin after waking up with a painful left foot.

Lai's mount, Ocean Wide, was catastrophically injured when he fell over the leader, Fortune Together, when that horse shattered a leg at the 600-metre turn, but Lai was able to ride in the following race before standing down. Ocean Wide and Fortune Together both had to be put down.

X-rays cleared Lai of any break, but he has been stood down from his rides on Sunday by the club's medical staff and replacement jockeys will be announced today.

Howard Cheng Yue-tin was reported to have suspected breaks to his left arm and leg, but he was cleared of any break to his leg yesterday. Instead, he has some rib damage and will undergo surgery this morning on his arm.

"With a few suspensions as well, the injuries have caught us on the hop," said steward and licensing committee secretary Steve Railton.

"We could be down to 18 jockeys, which is not ideal for 14-horse fields, so we have Tim Clark on standby to ride here if we need him for the seventh of July and we'll assess whether we need him on the 10th as well when we get closer to that date."

Of the other jockeys involved, Tye Angland was uninjured and Vincent Ho Chak-yiu was due to be discharged from hospital last night with "some general neck pain", but he has now started a suspension which will give him another week to get over the incident before he is eligible to ride on June 27.

Champion jockey Douglas Whyte was bruised and battered from his experience in the pile-up, but awaiting clearance to resume riding trackwork.

"It was a nasty tumble. The replay certainly looked bad, but all I have is a bit of bruising in the glute," Whyte said. "It is sore, a bit tender walking - feels like someone hit me in the rear end with a baseball bat, but I'm all right.

"I've been in for a precautionary check with my physio but, after such a heavy fall, I need a cat scan to ensure I have no head injuries before I can be cleared to ride again. I'm trying to organise an appointment for that now."

Zac Purton's prospects of riding on Sunday are also unclear. Purton, who missed Wednesday night's meeting following laser surgery on Monday for a kidney stone problem, was readmitted to hospital yesterday.

The results of the initial procedure had been unsatisfactory and Purton was to undergo further treatment, although he may still be in action at Sha Tin.

"Zac is in some doubt for Sunday but it's the kind of thing which can resolve itself quite quickly, too," Railton said.