Jockey Darren Gauci is in hospital this morning after a nasty fall at Mornington yesterday.
Gauci was aboard the Nikki Burke trained Gothic Armageddon, who veered sharply as the horses approached the winning post for the first time in the 2444m event. The horse then crashed through the plastic running rail, dislodging Gauci in the process.
Gauci was taken to The Frankston Hospital with ‘extreme back pain’ and at this early stage doctors suspect that he may have suffered a compressed fracture to his lower back.
Following the race, Chief Steward Terry Bailey confirmed that Gothic Armageddon had died.
“All the signs are the horse had a heart attack and dies,” Bailey said.
Des O’Keeffe of the Victorian Jockey’s Association said that Gauci had shown signs of improvement and that he had shown some good movement.
“I’m pleased to report he doesn’t have any head or neck injuries and has full movement,” O’Keeffe said.
“But he is complaining of a really sore lower back since the fall and doctors wanted to look right into that.
“They did full scans and x-rays and believe he could have a compressed fracture in the lower back. He’s being transferred to the Alfred Hospital for more extensive tests.”
At this stage it is unknown how long Gauci will be on the sidelines for.
Gothic Armageddon also caused interference to Auzonnet and Aggregator, who after being caught up in the fall, were pulled up and took no further part in the race.
Because several sections of the running rail were broken in the fall, track staff were forced to hold the rails in place by hand as the horses went past the affected area for the second time.
Gauci also spent a stint on the sidelines earlier in the year after he fell at Caulfield on Boxing Day, injuring an ankle.
The worst fall of Gauci’s career came in 1989. After falling from a horse at Yarra Valley, he spent the next eight days coming in and out of coma.