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On-Course Medical Facilities – No Inquiry?

Majestic Mambo unscathed - may still go for Derby

The shocking accident involving SA Champion jockey Anthony Delpech and the fancied Majestic Mambo in Saturday’s Gr1 SA Classic has led to an inquiry being opened by the National Horseracing Authority.

Anthony Delpech

Anthony Delpech – injured

The rather brief reference in the official stipes report that ‘an inquiry will be opened to establish why Jockey A Delpech was dislodged from Majestic Mambo at approximately the 350m’ is a sad and faceless footnote to a risk that faces our jockeys on a daily basis.

The high-riding Delpech, who is a runaway leader on the SA national jockey log and only a fortnight earlier rode SA Derby winner Al Sahem at the Dubai World Cup meeting, was diagnosed with a disc herniation and a damaged spinal cord and underwent an operation in the Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg on Tuesday morning.

An emotional trainer Paul Peter, who saddled Majestic Mambo, said that he was shocked and saddened by the incident.

Paul Peter – saddened

“Anthony is a true professional and a good friend of ours. This is such a tragedy and a devastating blow. Our best wishes go to him and his family. It just goes to underline again what a dangerous life our jockeys live. Every time they throw their leg over a horse they run the risk of injury. I don’t want to comment on the circumstances of the accident. These things happen. That’s racing.”

Majestic Mambo – unscathed

As to the condition of Majestic Mambo, Peter said that his charge was shaken but had no physical damage.

“This kind of incident can be a psychologically traumatic event for a horse and I have kept him off the track for a few days. We will be monitoring him. For now plans are still on track for the SA Derby but that can change,” he added.

Gavin Lerena

Gavin Lerena – on the sidelines

Following other accidents, including the recent Gavin Lerena injury, the Sporting Post has written to the racing operators and the NHA in recent months requesting details of the raceday medical protocols. It seems there aren’t any in place.

There were suggestions by leading racing personalities on Saturday that our champion jockey lay on the turf for too long before being attended to.

Why the NHA are not examining this aspect is puzzling – but hardly surprising.

As one top industry player summed it up:

“We are trying to play the role of a first-world racing power with third-world rules and regulations, and matching attitudes and philosophies. What would it mean in the scheme of our industry global spend to have a second ambulance on duty on raceday, as one example? They would rather duck and dive than attend to these fundamental matters of life and death. It’s a disgrace and a shame.”

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28 comments on “On-Course Medical Facilities – No Inquiry?

  1. Roxanne says:

    The racecourse emergency unit is a JOKE!!!
    Tex Lerena who was on the 4th floor in the box when he fell got to Gavin before they did 😱😱😱


  2. Kevin Lerena says:

    EmerGMed was able to make a difference with Gavin Lerena’s fall . As we say in EmerGMed “ When seconds count “

  3. Gina Lerena says:

    The jockeys deserve better medical response than they currently have. It’s a shame. You would think they would receive better care being the second most dangerous sport. Thankfully Kevin Lerena and EmerGmed got to Gavin Lerena straight away 🙏

  4. Kim says:

    The Emergency Medical Services (EMS) or “first responders” on scene at the racecourse needs attention. I know of people who have written to the racing authorities months ago, regarding another fall where the medical treatment given to the jockey at the time was questionable. Those that have written have yet to receive acknowledgement, or the basic courtesy of a response. Why? Is cash more important than the people who put their lives on the line every day for the sport? And I’m referring to everyone here: jockeys, trainers, the public. If a member of the public suffered a heart attack on the course, would they be able to receive prompt, efficient care?
    The course’s ambulance services seemingly missed my brother, Gavin Lerena’s fall on 31 March. In fact, my father, who was on the 4th floor at the time (a considerable distance away) reached Gavin before the ambulance did. I still can’t work that one out? Have they not heard of the “platinum 10 minutes” and “golden hour” after a trauma-related event, where emergency care properly administered can mean the difference between Life and death, or a good recovery vs. a prolonged, complicated recovery? Thankfully we did not have to rely on the course’s ambulance services in the end. We were blessed in that my brother Gavin Lerena was seen to by very professional first-responders in Emer-G-Med, and that made all the difference. Gavin was in Trauma ICU for several days and is still suffering from post concussion complications, but the care he received when Emer-G-Med arrived on scene, was top notch. Was Anthony Delpech afforded the same level of urgent care? That is the question. I don’t know? But if not, this naturally has a knock-on effect on subsequent treatment and care, and recovery.
    Yes, falling off horses at high speed is an inevitable part of the game. However, the medical treatment and emergency care jockeys receive immediately thereafter, is what needs urgent attention. This needs dramatic improvement and fast, before something avoidable becomes fatal. Optimal early management may prevent the onset of serious problems. Racing Authorities must wake up.
    Anthony, from someone who was in your family’s shoes a short 10 days ago, I really hope your recovery is quick, complete and painless 💕

  5. Margret says:

    Horse racing is a highly dangerous sport. There should be a proper trauma medical team on course at every race meeting. Their lives are at risk every time they put their leg over a horse. Two of SA’s top jockeys are off after serious falls in the last two weeks. Both were treated differently as one was treated by Emergmed (which is not the course medical team) and the other was treated and transported by the course medical team.
    The difference is that Gavin (treated and transported by Emergmed) was x-rayed and scanned within 30 mins from falling. He was put on oxygen and a drip while being transported to Milpark. He was admitted to TICU and had first class treatment.
    Delpech on the other hand had to wait 2 and a half hours before having any x-rays. Had no oxygen or drip. He was treated too terribly!
    Action needs to be taken!!!!

  6. Pat Hellriegel says:

    Praying for Anthony’s speedy recovery

    1. Winston says:

      God blessings for you and your family.you are my no1banker jockey monkshood in particular gave me a nice pick6 buy yourself some shares in horses or become a trainer you deserve better from the industry we are. Praying for you and Gavin winston

  7. Nicole says:

    The race course should be fined for this! These jockies risk their lives on a daily basis! When the ” men in charge” are questioned regarding medical support, most importantly the first responders… they state that they have the most equiped people on the job. – who are you effing kidding? My cousin Jockey Gavin Lerena had a serious fall 2 weeks back, your medics had no idea that the jockey was even down! My Uncle Tex who happened to be in a 4th FLOOR box, got to gavin before the medics! I mean take your blinkers off!!!!! Start taking the lives and well being of your jockies into consideration! This has been a constant debate for years on end, still, we as family and fans have had no improvement! To ALL those involved in the decision making, SHAME on you!!!!!!

    Start putting the actual hero’s of the game first!
    And if one of you can actually, truthfully state that you have the sufficient help and treatment available, get on a horse and fly high! Lets see how ” good ” your medics are!

    They are NOT equiped! Facts are facts, be grown ups and deal with the reality! Take accountability!!! Stop hiding under false pre tenses! But MOST of all…..
    STOP putting our beloved JOCKIES at RISK!!!!

  8. Sherwin Jerrier says:

    I was at the course. Ant lied there for minutes. The ambulance had no clue what had happened. Finally when the bulb lit up they reversed at slow pace, made a 3 point turn and cruised to the scene. The track conditioners did not bother that there was a jockey down 50m from them and they continued stomping the turf. The only professional was unfortunately the injured Ant that lay on the turf. They rest just needed a big tent and we would have a circus. Shame on those in charge.

  9. Chris Swart says:

    Yet another indictment on the shocking leadership and standards of the NHRA at it’s very worst.
    In a more litigious society like the States, the level of negligence would be heavily penalised.
    It’s high time the incompetence is taken to task and answers before the courts

    1. Yves says:

      It’s very sad to see Anthony down for minutes not been attending, when the commenter has repeated twice that Majestic Mambo has deslodge the Jockey. I wish ever favorite Jockey a good and speed recovery and to his family specialialy his wife and his children to be strong. I know he always try hard with the big support from his wife and the Kid whose always like to see him winning the jockey championship. Antony Delpech I wish you a good and speed recovery

  10. Tam Morais says:

    Watching racing and seeing your family Gavin Lerena, having a horrific fall your heart stops in that split second. One should be comforted that the correct emergency personal should be on the course on race day but instead thank God to Emergemed that got to the course to help Gavin and give him the best care possible, as on the course there doesnt seem to have the correct or suffienct people on call during these race meeting. This needs to be sorted out urgently because of the nature of the game and to all the jockies that risk there life on a daily basis.

  11. Candice Delpech says:

    I never run down racing or complain but enough is enough.Di de kock and Deez got to Anthony before the paramedics.He lay on the turf for at least 5 minutes.The commentator even mentioned Anthony was on the ground,twice!!!!Everything from casualties when doctors wanted to discharge Anthony with a neck and spine injury to Anthonys last 2 injuries of a broken collar bone and broken leg, he was told nothing was broken.Which ended up with operations.I have even witnessed a “paramedic” at the racecourse putting a stethoscope ontop of the body protector and wondering why they never got a result..Our professional sportsman deserve better.This is not how our champions should be treated.

  12. Liza says:

    Whats the point of the ambulance driving behind them while racing, if they don’t even see the jockey has fallen off? I felt that both Anthony and Gavin were laying there for too long before anyone got to them. Its shocking!

  13. Rian says:

    Feel so sorry for Anthony, that a great jockey that he is should be treated this way while the so called ELITE N H A wine and dine with the sponsors oblivious to whats really going on
    Time that the so called Horse people GO ON STRIKE ,till changes take place
    IF that ambulance was on the turf travelling behind the horses he may have seen the incident, but he may also have ridden over Anthony
    Please go on strike as soon as possible, until we have raised enough money for each racetrack to upgrade its service

    1. B d steele says:

      Mr Goodman will have something to say now that you have mentioned “strike”

      1. Rian says:

        And Lafferty wants him in the Hall of Fame !!!!!!!
        Hope the families sue the BAFOONS who run racing and lets have Sporting Post run a T V Station as they would do a much better job
        Praying they get well soon

  14. Jay Munnsammy says:

    In support of Gavin and Anthony all the jockeys and apprentices in South Africa should refuse to take rides for a period of a week giving the NHRA and the racecourses enough time to make the changes needed. They do not have to do it for Gavin or Anthony, they should be doing it for themselves because the current set up is not going to help them if they become involved in any incident which involves medical assistance. The fear of loss of support by the NHRA and the fear of losing tens of millions of rands in betting revenue should get a quick positive knee jerk reaction and a quick fix to this poor state of affairs.

  15. Ian Jayes says:

    I agree that the on-course medical situation should be improved especially as jockeys are falling off as much as they have been. Hardly a racemeeting goes by without a jockey being dislodged at some stage, either going down to the start, at the start, in the race or after the post.

    I have been saying for a long time that they are riding far too short and as a result, do not have enough contact with and control over the horses that they should have.

  16. hilton witz says:

    Many years ago in natal netcare had the contract for the on course ambulance and they sent an updated world class ambulance with well trained people however gold circle deemed them to be to expensive and replaced them with a second rate company and the alarm bells should have been ringing very loud when jared samuels had that fall on the greyville poly and he got poor treatment but as with so much in racing after a few weeks it got forgotten until it happens again ,,Lets hope this gets sorted out now once and for all ..You cannot put any price on a jockeys life so get the best

  17. Leonie says:

    This may be 13 years ago but my husband fell from both broken legs of a horse head first at full speed ! At scottsville ! I found him in the do called sick room. Battered face and battling to breath A elderly lady put those plastic pump oxygen contraptions on ! And the VET. YES THE VET listened to his chest. He had a broken collarbone concussion battered face and broken ribs ! I threw my toys out the cot and told them .. get out ! And took him to the hospital ! I tried hard to change the way the jockeys where taken care of after a fall but nothing cdme of it snd 3 yrs later he died. BUT the two falls recently ARE UNACCEPTABLE THAT THEY NEVER GOT TAKEN CARE OF IMMEDIATELY AND EFFECTIVELY! It’s not rocket science for goodness sake ! Every single second counts especially with spinal cord injuries !! GET IT RIGHT GET IT DONE ! Candice has every single right to be absolutely fuming mad ! I AM … COME ON POWERS THAT BE WAKE UP!!!!! Till we loose another THEN WHAT. ITS JUST UNACCEPTABLE

    1. Brian says:

      To have jockeys of such high calibre injured in this fashion saddens one beyond words. I hear and feel for the words of Loraine and Leonie.

      It is so indicative of those running horse racing at course level and NHA

      They have to be so thick skinned to have all this criticism leveled at them yet nothing changes. Nothing!

      That fact that we, the racing public and I do not say punter, because until the powers that be get there act together they won’t get one cent from me. Yes, I know they couldn’t give a proverbial and therein lies the rub.

      THEY DO NOT CARE!!! They have not been put there for their skills, they have none. It’s all down to politics. They feel they’re untouchable and they basically are. The report to no one but themselves

  18. Loraine Karam says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with the Lerena and Delpech family and friends. May the Good Lord keep them in his healing hands, and may they have a speedy recovery. We need champion jockeys like you, and we need to take care of all our jockeys, without them we have no racing!!
    Loraine Karam

  19. Loraine Karam says:

    We are both pleased that Anthony is out of Surgery, he will be back on the saddle soon!!!!!!!!!!

  20. June says:

    I am aware of the huge amounts of money involved in the world of racing. (Sport of Kings ). Could this have happened in UK, Hongkong even Mauritious? I don’t think so ! I have a few questions to ask following the terrible accidents of top jockeys , who is to blame for the on site medical attention ? How many other jockeys have had similar experiences ? And is anyone who will be held responsible for the negligence for the on track ambulance ? Is anything going to be rectified for the future? My prayers and thoughts are with the families of the jockeys who recently were victims of the negligence. Thank Gd that Kevin Lerena was able to assist with Emergemed to get Gavin to necessary medical facilities as fast as was done. Sadly not the same for Anthony Delpech. Please Gd let them heal and return to a course that has their welfare at heart ! 🙏🙏🙏

  21. Donna Hirse says:

    The medical response protocol should have been ensured without Jockeys accused of “refusing to ride because no ambulance available, etc” Everyone is making a big sing and dance now because recent incidents involved Gavin Lerena and Anthony Delpech – top jockeys but on 16 November 2017 Jockey Chase Maujean was brought down and broke his femur HE was left lying on the course unattended, family members neing the “first responders”. The medical team should have been brought to task THEN for their lack of professionalism

  22. Loraine Karam says:

    Leonie i am so sorry to hear about you husband, it really saddens me, i know what you are going through, i lost my husband who was brutally murdered at our business in 2002, and my only daughter very tragically in 2013 . My thoughts and prayers will always be with you and Anthony Delpech, Gavin Lerena and their families. Hopefully they will heal fast and be on a safe track winning many races. Lets all unite and think of their well being, as they are 2 lovely talented young men that has so much to offer to racing and the community out there.

  23. Loraine Karam says:

    To Jockey Chase Maujean, i just read Donna Hirse comment, agree we are all the same, may your well being go from strength to strength and and soon you can become part of our champion jockeys……………………………..

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