Star young female jockey confronts heartbreaking early retirement after losing memory, hearing in race fall
- Top jockey Raquel Clark can’t ride for at least a year after horror fall in November
- Suffered partially collapsed lung, memory and hearing loss from fall in Adelaide
- She admits she may be forced to retire after a second horror fall since 2015
- Was crowned SA Jockey of the Year after 49 metropolitan winners in 2018-19
One of Australia’s best young jockeys fears she may never ride again after a second horrific race fall within three years.
South Australian Jockey of the Year Raquel Clark, 26, has a long road to recovery ahead of her and can’t ride for at least a year after a fall left her with head injuries that caused a temporary loss of memory and partial hearing loss.
Six weeks on, she has spoken for the first time about the horror moment when her horse Goodgee bucked as the field was slowing down after crossing the finish line at Morphettville on Nov. 9.
The four-year-old mare clipped heels with another runner, dislodging Clark and then rolling over her.
Jockey Raquel Clark (pictured) suffered hearing memory loss in a recent fall in Adelaide
‘I just went to yell I was coming through and by that time I was at their heels and I clipped their heels and after that I can’t remember anything,’ Clark told 10 News.
‘The accident did a bit of damage to my brain. I did the accident on the Saturday and my memory started coming back the (following) Friday.
She regained consciousness while being treated on the track before being rushed to Royal Adelaide Hospital, where she was treated for serious injuries that included a partially collapsed lung.
She still suffers from severe headaches, hearing loss and is unable to drive.
The South Australian Jockey of the Year has spoken publicly for the first time about the fall
She will return to her home state of Tasmania to continue her slow recovery process and admits she may never ride again.
‘I’m worried about my health. They said until you’re 100 per cent you can’t go back and they didn’t give me a time frame,’ she said.
Earlier this month, Ms Clark returned to visit the stables of veteran trainer Leon Macdonald, under whom she did her apprenticeship.
There she was reunited with Dalasan, the horse she rode to a Group Two victory at Flemington during the Spring Carnival, and posted a heartwarming photo of the pair on social media.
‘It’s been a month since my fall and this has been my best recovery moment yet,’ she tweeted.
In December 2015, Ms Clark placed into an induced coma after she was trampled by her horse before a race in Tasmania.
Raquel Clark was one of Australia’s best jockey. She’s pictured after riding Dalasan to victory at Flemington in Melbourne in September
She was named South Australia’s Jockey of the Year after claiming the Adelaide jockey’s premiership in 2018-19 with 49 metropolitan winners.
So impressive had been her riding that Clark had been expected to follow another top former Adelaide female jockey in Jamie Kah and move to either Melbourne or Sydney.
Ms Clark’s accident follows the death of female jockeys Mikaela Claridge, 22, and Melanie Tyndall, 32, which rocked the racing industry three months ago.
Melanie Tyndall, 32, was riding at a Darwin race when she reportedly trampled when her horse clipped the heels of another and fell on August 31.
She later died in hospital.
It will be at least a year before jockey Raquel Clark will find out if she’ll ever ride again
A day earlier, apprentice jockey Mikaela Claridge, 22, died from injuries in a fall when ‘her horse spooked’ during trackwork in Melbourne.
Jockey Shanae O’Meara, 20, was airlifted to hospital in Melbourne for lifesaving surgery after she suffered severe head injuries during trackwork at Swan Hill in regional Victoria on August 26.
She was discharged from hospital two months later and remains in Melbourne for three months of rehabilitation.
Of the 20 jockeys have been killed in Australia in the last 19 years, 17 were during races while the other occurred during trackwork.
Raquel shared a heartwarming photo of being reunited with Dalasan when she returned to Leon Macdonald’s stables for the first time this week since the November 9 fall