Race track guardians called into action
RACING: The fast action of local paramedics at the Grafton Racecourse could have been the difference between minor and major injuries for the three fallen jockeys at Wednesday's Ramornie Handicap meeting.
The ambulance trailing the horses is a common sight at the Clarence River Jockey Club, but rarely are the men in blue called into action.
But when they were on Ramornie day, it was a professional approach from Grafton's Scott Acton and Coffs Harbour's Jarde Egar that ensured the three jockeys - Ben Looker, Josh Adams and Jake Hull - were in the best care.
It was far from easy for the paramedics, who had to deal with the unusual and highly-stressful situation of being watched by thousands of onlookers who were trackside.
"It can be very stressful particularly, with the crowd watching and people on the track running to offer assistance," Egar said.
"With those people being family and friends of the people on the ground injured, it is important you control the situation as best as you can and it takes a degree of being able to block out a lot of those stresses.
"At the end of the day we are doing a job, and we have to deal with what is in front of us. You can only prepare so much until you are there at the time."
While it might be a rare occasion, the horror fall in race five on Ramornie day was a prime example of why jockey clubs ensure there is an ambulance present at race meetings.
"This shows why it is important," Egar said. "We had some jockeys who went down and they needed assistance quickly.
"If we were coming from 20 minutes away it could have made the situation a lot worse.
"It was lucky there was no serious injuries, and that is the outcome we want."
At least one paramedic working trackside at each meeting is there as overtime on top of their usual roster, making the job that much tougher.