Danis injured in racing accident in New Zealand
Young Singaporean apprentice jockey Darren Danis was seriously injured in a nasty race fall in New Zealand on Sunday.
The son of jockey-turned-trainer Luke Danis hit the deck shortly after his mount Advent crossed the line in fourth place in the first race of the Phar Lap Raceway (Timaru) meeting at Washdyke in Christchurch.
Video footage of the race showed his horse was hopelessly caught behind runners with no way out in the last 300m of the Maiden race over 1,200m, before ducking back in on the rails late, but appeared to have clipped heels with the winner Sacred Desire (Alysha Collett) before taking a heavy fall.
Another horse was brought down in the spill, but both horse and jockey Courtney Barnes were unhurt.
The 25-year-old Darren was diagnosed with fractured vertebrae at Timaru Hospital before he was flown to Christchurch.
Upon hearing the news, Luke straightaway flew from Malaysia to New Zealand to be by his son's bedside.
He said Darren was conscious and in good spirits but still remained in a serious condition pending a surgery on Friday.
"He fractured his T4 and T5 vertebrae, but the good news is he can move his arms and legs. He is still in pain in the back from the neck down," said Luke.
"His doctor said he will go for surgery on Friday. It's a delicate operation as they must be careful not to pinch on any nerve. For now, he is not mobilised; they just want him to lay down flat."
Luke said he was at the Penang races on Sunday when he heard of the news no father wants to hear about his son.
"I was at the races in Penang. I had to immediately fly back to KL and catch an overnight flight to New Zealand," said Luke. "My wife and my other son came along, but my daughter could not make it. The two brothers are very close.
"Jockey Trudy Thornton, who rode in Malaysia before, was the one who organised everything over the phone, speaking to the doctors.
"She said Alysha Collett, who rode the winner, was very apologetic but she told her it wasn't her fault and it was all part of race-riding.
Formerly indentured to Brian Dean at Kranji, Dennis was recently featured on this website shortly after he rode his first career double since moving to New Zealand in 2014. That was at Rotorua on June 28. He currently boasts 10 wins at his second season of riding.
"It's unfortunate he had this fall, but the racing community in New Zealand have all been very helpful and I thank them for that. We will now pray for Darren's quick recovery," said Luke.