It?s just not fair?:tributes flow for Alan

By EMMA CORNFORD

A BLOKE with a smile on his face who loved a laugh was how colleagues described Grafton horse trainer and former jockey, Alan Abrahams.

Mr Abrahams' name was released yesterday as the 39-year-old man killed in a head-on collision on the Pacific Highway at South Grafton on Monday morning.

The death has shocked the local horse racing fraternity.

Mr Abrahams had been training in Grafton for the past nine months following a successful riding career.

He was forced to retire from the sad- dle after an horrific fall at Newcastle last year.

Grafton horse trainer Bruce Swan said Mr Abrahams' death was like losing 'one of the family'.

"He was a great bloke and it hurts a fair bit to tell the truth because he was such a character and well-known in the community," Mr Swan said yesterday.

"It was such a shock what happened to him. He'd just got over the horrific injuries from that fall, I mean the bloke shouldn't have even been walking, but then this happens to the poor bugger and you think 'it's just not fair'.

"Al was never without a smile and was cracking a funny one most of the time. He was just a normal, outgoing bloke ? a real character but also a professional in his work."

Clarence River Jockey Club chief executive Dale Thompson said Mr Abrahams was a 'top bloke'.

"I don't know anyone who had an ill word to say about him and he was always a smiling-faced bloke," he said.

Mr Abrahams was one of the North Coast's top jockeys before breaking his pelvis in four places in a sickening fall in Newcastle.

Doctors were doubtful he would even walk again.

So he turned to training and had his first winner, Oxford Falls, in December.

"He knew his horses," Mr Swan said.

"It's a bloody sad thing, it really is."



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