Spirited Gabriell Aiming For ‘George Clooney Look’

Pain and bruising as young rider claws way back to health

Top young jockey Gabriell Pieterse is happy to be back at home in Johannesburg after Friday’s Fairview accident had him competing as our industry newsmaker of the season, for all the wrong reasons.

The Pieterse story has mostly fallen off the front pages as embarrassing dramas tend to do, but the young rider, who only qualified in January and rode his maiden stakes winner in March, was groggy but in a relatively positive frame of mind when he spoke to the Sporting Post late on Wednesday.

Gabriell Pieterse – back home and recovering (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

He broke his nose and fractured his jaw and cheek in an awful accident that saw a colleague incur a 14 day suspension, with Gabriell becoming the unwitting poster boy for SA horseracing to pull up its safety socks.

“I am beat up and bruised everywhere. My chest, my sternum, my side, my head, my nose, my eyes, my cheek – the whole lot are all aching. And my ear’s on fire too, as it had to be reattached. But I’m on painkillers and meds, so just moving around my home in a daze, learning to make lots of soup, as I can’t chew,” said the 20 year old.

Gabriell observed that hospitals are ‘scary places’ and he was just very happy to be in a place of comfort.

He expects to be admitted in the next week to have his nose realigned. “I am going for a George Clooney look,” he laughed, before grimacing in pain as humour doesn’t work well in his condition.

While it’s unclear how long he will be off, Gabriell is guessing a month, which sounds a tad optimistic to us!

“I have had good medical care and I am just really very happy to be back home – albeit in a few pieces! It could have been a lot worse. Please allow me to thank all the wonderful folk again who have sent me messages. I didn’t know so many people followed the sport of racing!”

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