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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


Thoroughbred Racing Commentary — Dual G1-winning jockey Dean Holland died on Monday as a result of injuries sustained in a horrific race-riding fall in Australia. He was 34.

Holland was riding the Tony McEvoy-trained gelding Headingley in the first race of the day at Donald racecourse, about 175 miles north west of Melbourne, when he was brought down at the head of the straight. The rider was immediately attended to by on-course paramedics but could not be saved. Victorian Jockeys’ Association (VJA) chief executive Matt Hyland said he was “incredibly devastated” by the news.

Two horses came down in the incident; both were unharmed. Alana Kelly, the second rider involved, was cleared of any serious injury. The meeting was abandoned.

Holland, who is survived by wife Lucy and four children under the age of five, rode more than 1,075 career winners including a pair of top-level successes, the most recent only last month at Flemington on In Secret in the prestigious Newmarket Handicap.

According to Racing Victoria, he began riding in his native South Australia in December 2005 and piloted his first winner at Ceduna on 14 January 2006. The majority of his victories thereafter came in Victoria and South Australia, where he won the G1 Schweppes Oaks on Small Minds at Morphettville in Adelaide in 2010.

Racing Victoria chief executive Andrew Jones said: “On behalf of the Victorian racing industry, I would like to extend our prayers and heartfelt condolences to Dean’s partner Lucy, his children, his family, friends and colleagues on the incredibly sad news of his passing.

“It was a tragic accident at Donald today and we are all are deeply shocked and saddened that Dean has passed away as a result of injuries sustained in the fall,” Jones went on.

“Dean was a gifted lightweight rider who won over 1,000 races and was highly respected by his peers. He showcased his immense talent on the biggest stage last month when winning the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap at Flemington.

“Dean’s passing is heartbreaking for all within Victorian racing and the sport nationally. It is a sobering reminder of the immense bravery of our riders.”

VJA chief Hyland added: “Dean was a much-loved member of the riding group here in Victoria and when he travelled interstate, and his fellow riders will all be shattered at the shock news of his passing as we at the VJA are.

“Together with Racing Victoria, the Jockey Assistance Program will be wrapping its arms around the riding group and will be working to support Lucy and the Holland family both now and importantly into the future.”

WorkSafe, with the cooperation of RV and the Donald Racing Club (DRC), will investigate the circumstances of the racing accident and Victoria Police will prepare a report for the coroner.

RV, following consultation with the VJA, has determined that tomorrow’s ANZAC Day race meetings at Flemington and Moe will not proceed as programmed out of respect to Dean and the Holland family.

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