Apprentice jockey in ICU after horrific pre-race incident
UPDATE 1PM: Injured apprentice jockey Elyce Smith is in a stable condition in Rockhampton Hospital.
A spokesperson from the hospital provided an update on her condition this afternoon.
The Morning Bulletin will update readers on Elyce's progress in coming days.
INITIAL REPORT: FRED Smith said his daughter and premier Rockhampton apprentice jockey, Elyce Smith, was in "pretty good spirits” yesterday after being seriously injured at the Thangool Cup race meeting on Saturday.
The 20-year-old is in Rockhampton Hospital's intensive care unit after suffering a fractured skull, punctured lung, broken collarbone and broken ribs on both sides in an incident behind the starting stalls before the first race on the six-race program.
She also has several small bleeds on the brain which are stable but being closely monitored.
According to the stewards' report, Elyce was injured on the way to the running of the Linemac Ford and Mitsubishi BenchMark 55 Handicap 800m.
"The start of this race was significantly delayed when Set Wait took charge of its rider en route to the barriers and crashed through the outside fence at the back of the 800m chute, dislodging apprentice Ms E Smith and then escaping outside the surrounds of the racecourse before being recaptured after a short period,” the report said.
"Apprentice Smith sustained significant injuries and had to be stabilised by ambulance personnel before being transported to Biloela Hospital by another ambulance for further observations and examinations.”
An anxious Fred and wife Karen, who is the ICU manager at Rockhampton, were at the hospital to meet her when she arrived about 6.30pm.
"It was pretty scary but she recognised everyone,” he said.
"This is Elyce's first serious injury. She's had a couple of falls before but this is the worst one.
"She's got a couple of little bleeds on the brain so they are keeping an eye on that. If they get worse they will fly her to Brisbane but at the moment they're stable so everything is good there.”
Fred, an accomplished horse trainer, said his brother David and Elyce's brother Thomas were at the course on Saturday.
David called straight after the incident to let Fred know.
"I usually go with her but I couldn't because we were supposed to go to a wedding,” Fred said.
"No one really knew what was wrong when we first heard about it.
"The horse played up a bit and it bolted with her. She's gone through a fence and then it's thrown her into a tower somewhere behind the barrier.”
Fred said Elyce had responded well to treatment overnight.
"Her face is all swollen this morning but she's in pretty good spirits so that's the main thing. She's looking for something to eat so she's feeling a lot better,” he said.