Loss of Carly-Mae Pye crushes racing industry

TRAGIC DEATH: Carly-Mae Pye in a file photo taken at her Alton Downs property.
TRAGIC DEATH: Carly-Mae Pye in a file photo taken at her Alton Downs property. Allan Reinikka Rokacarly

JOCKEY Carly-Mae Pye died in Rockhampton Hospital yesterday afternoon from shocking head and chest injuries suffered when her mount broke its front legs and rolled on her during a Callaghan Park jump-out track trial on Monday.

Her partner, Rockhampton trainer Tim Cook, who ran to Carly-Mae's aid just after the horrific accident, had earlier outlined the gravity of the 26-year-old's injuries.

"We asked and prayed for a miracle but it didn't happen. Really there is no change (in her condition) since Monday. I don't know how to put it in words but Carly is now brain dead. Her kidneys have failed," Mr Cook said.

Tim bravely spoke to The Morning Bulletin openly and delicately, aware of the concern circulating for Carly-Mae.

Tim Cook with partner Carly-Mae Pye
Tim Cook with partner Carly-Mae Pye

He asked at the same time that his and Carly-Mae's family's desire for privacy would not be swamped but respected by well wishers in their grief.

Renowned for her empathy, kindness and care for others in the racing industry - which is all too often wrongly depicted as being callous - Carly-Mae Pye is the ultimate giver.

Accordingly, it comes as no surprise to those fortunate to be in Carly-Mae's inner circle of loved ones and trusted friends that she requested to be an organ donor.

Poignantly, Tim Cook confirmed this yesterday afternoon.

As the racing industry Australia-wide is coming to grips with the tragedy, her friends and co-workers in the close-knit Rockhampton racing circle are stunned.

Rockhampton's Callaghan Park racecourse was eerily quiet at pre-dawn track work yesterday as fellow jockeys and track work riders quietly went about their business.

Many trainers and riders couldn't work their horses because of being overcome by grief.

"I've never seen it so quite. You could hear a pin drop. This is going to take a long time to heal. People are hurting and praying for Carly. She is so popular," one trainer said.

Jockey Carly-Mae Pye rode Asha the Smasha to win first place at race 2 at Callaghan Park on the Melbourne Cup Race Day. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin
Jockey Carly-Mae Pye rode Asha the Smasha to win first place at race 2 at Callaghan Park on the Melbourne Cup Race Day. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin Chris Ison

Racing Queensland's Brisbane-based CEO Darren Condon flew into Rockhampton late on Monday to comfort Carly-Mae's family.

He was accompanied by RQ Jockeys' Welfare officer Rachel Mason and counsellor Rachael Jones.

The trio were at Callaghan Park racecourse just after dawn yesterday offering their services and consoling industry stakeholders.

"I've never been on a racecourse at a trackwork session that was so sombre," Condon said.

Paying tribute to Carly- Mae Pye, he described her as "one of the salt-of-the -earth racing people".

"She is one of the hardest working people in racing. I don't think they work any harder than Carly. She is still with us but she has very severe injuries which are very grim," Condon said at the time.

He confirmed RQ would investigate the accident but it appeared the Rockhampton Jockey Club (RJC) had followed correct procedures at the time.

As the RJC has Callaghan Park trials and jump-outs videotaped, the footage of the accident in which Carly-Mae was critically injured will be crucial evidence in the investigation.

"It appeared (accident) to be a sad occurrence that involved nothing untoward," Condon said.

The Rockhampton Jockey Club yesterday offered its sincerest condolences to Carly-Mae Pye's family and partner Tim Cook on her tragic passing.

RJC Chairman Peter Boodle said: "Carly-Mae was well respected in the community and like a family member to all ... Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Carly-Mae."

A look back at the riding life of Carly-Mae Pye:

Topics:  carly-mae pye horse racing queensland racing

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