From down to a double in a day

TALK about toughness, dedication and the ups and downs of racing.

On Saturday afternoon, Port Macquarie jockey Marlon Dolendo was unconscious in an ambulance being taken to Armidale Hospital after a nasty two-horse race fall.

Yesterday at Grafton the 36-year-old rider bounced back remarkably with a winning double just two days after a fall that left fellow jockey Tracy O'Hara and onlookers amazed Dolendo hadn't suffered serious problems.

His mount at Armidale, Fergalicious, was destroyed as a result of injuries suffered.

“I was a very lucky boy,” he suggested humbly.

Amazingly Dolendo escaped with only minor bruising, lacerations to his arm and face, a swollen lip ... and a sore head.

You'd reckon the last thing you'd want to do after seeing your life flash before your eyes in what could have been a near death experience, is climb straight back aboard 500kg-plus thoroughbreds.

Not Dolendo.

On Sunday, he was surprised to wake not feeling like he'd been run over by a Mack Truck.

He even went fishing that day and with bookings for Grafton yesterday decided to test himself at trackwork on his home circuit before committing to Grafton.

Dolendo is one of the fittest, if not toughest, jockeys on the North Coast circuit.

“I don't remember much about the fall, but I tumbled a few times and expected to pull up a lot sorer than I did,” Dolendo recalled. “I've been pretty lucky with falls.

“I remember my first one 12 years back, I broke my collarbone, but I've had four falls lately and virtually walked away without a scratch. Unlike some other boys (jockeys) I've been very lucky.

“I rode eight horses' work at Port Macquarie to test myself this morning, pulled up pretty good and decided to ride.

“I'm glad I did.”

Dolendo's winners were both for Port trainer Neil Godbolt - the well-tried Brentis in the Casella Wines Maiden (1400m) and Magic Reins in the Tursa Employment & Training Class 2 Hcp (1400m).

Three-year-old Brentis was bought sight unseen at the Magic Million sales.

“Owner Grant McKeon and I were out the back of the sales and heard a bid of $4000 for him (Brentis),” Godbolt said.

“The stallion's (Elusive Quality) service fee was about $100,000 so we stuck our hand up and got him for $5000.

“He'll be a handy horse. He's still a big kid, nothing's kicked in yet but he'll get there.”

Darron Coleman also piloted a double, for Danny Bowen aboard Tori Dancer and Happy Finish for Gordon Yorke.

And local Cathy Chapman had cause for celebration, when the horse nicknamed 'Little' broke its maiden status with Peter Graham aboard.

Singleton apprentice Aaron Bullock proved 'King Of The Kids' winning the apprentices only event on Cane Champagne for Tuncurry-trainer Stuart Phegan.

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