STILL ON TRACK: Tegan Harrison (far left) says the deaths of (from left) Carly-Mae Pye, Caitlin Forrest and Desiree Gill will not deter other female jockeys.
STILL ON TRACK: Tegan Harrison (far left) says the deaths of (from left) Carly-Mae Pye, Caitlin Forrest and Desiree Gill will not deter other female jockeys. Noel Pascoe

Death of colleagues won't stop jockeys

STAR jockey Tegan Harrison says the recent tragic death of two female riders will not deter her and her colleagues from saddling up.

The racing industry was rocked last week by the deaths of Carly-Mae Pye in Rockhampton and Caitlin Forrest in South Australia in riding accidents.

Ms Harrison, who has enjoyed great success at Sunshine Coast racetrack Corbould Park, said the dual tragedies had taken their toll, but it was unfair to suggest the deaths had been in some part due to the fact both riders were women.

"If you go deep and look into circumstances surrounding the falls, it's not been through a lack of strength or anything like that that could be a comparison between men and women," said Ms Harrison, fresh from a second and a fourth place at Doomben yesterday.

Ms Harrison said she had experienced her fair share of loss, both on and off the track - none more painful than the loss of close friend Desiree Gill, who died after a fall at Corbould Park in November last year.

But Ms Harrison said tragedy would not stop passionate jockeys from riding.

"If you're doing something you love - and it doesn't matter what you do - there's risks with everything you do," she said.

"Some people don't understand the thrill of racing and how fortunate enough we are to ride.

"It definitely brings the racing community tighter together when something like this happens.

"Everyone's a little bit softer with each other and looks out for each other a bit."

Racing Queensland chief executive Darren Condon said he did not believe there was any explanation for the recent deaths other than them being unfortunate accidents.

He said females made up 63% of Racing Queensland's apprentice ranks.

"Sadly, both women were injured in what were really two freak accidents," Mr Condon said.

"A lot of women have made massive inroads in the industry, particularly as jockeys, and this obviously highlights it (the dangers of horse racing). It's probably one of the few jobs where you go to work and an ambulance follows you around while you work."

Ms Harrison said she could not see any dramatic issues with country racing regulations, although she had noticed a difference in the tracks over the past week, with much softer surfaces easing some of the risk of serious injury.

"I feel that the surfaces we are racing on are too hard at times, in my opinion," Ms Harrison said.

"The tracks aren't getting enough water, but in saying that, some horses are better suited to hard tracks.

"At the end of the day, these deaths are just tragic accidents."



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