- RELATED COVERAGE: Three jockeys taken to Wagga Base Hospital after nasty race fall
DOCTORS are confident Canberra jockey Brendan Ward will ride again despite being airlifted to a Sydney hospital with a broken neck following a frightening race fall at Murrumbidgee Turf Club on Friday.
Ward will have a further MRI scan today but a neurosurgeon has allayed fears that the leading Southern District jockey will require surgery after he was rushed to Sydney on Saturday morning.
Ward has fractured his C2 vertebrae and initial fears were that it was pushing onto the C3 vertebrae higher up on his neck, but further scans revealed the situation was not as bad as first suspected.
Ward was thrown from the saddle in a three-horse fall at MTC's race meeting last Friday, with Canberra apprentice Carly Frater and experienced Wagga jockey Andy Bloomfield also taken to Wagga Base Hospital.
Frater underwent plastic surgery over the weekend to some severe cuts to her face. She also sustained a broken collarbone but was expected to be released yesterday afternoon.
Bloomfield is "stiff and sore" but escaped serious injury.
Bloomfield yesterday recalled the fall and fearing the worst for Frater, who was unconscious for three minutes.
"The first thing rolling around and you hear them and that's a sign they're not too bad," Bloomfield said.
"But when you see Carly was knocked out, it's not a good feeling, especially because you're still in shock too.
"Your fellow riders, you're always concerned about them and seeing Carly like that, it's never a good thing.
"It could have been a lot worse."
Dean Walsh has been Ward's manager for the past decade and was pleased to report Ward's condition had improved over the weekend.
"He's still not out of the danger zone but it looks like surgery is unlikely," Walsh said.
"The latest is that he will be waiting until Monday in Sydney for a further MRI scan.
"It looks like it's not as bad as first thought."
If today's scan confirms what neurosurgeons suspect, Ward will require six to eight weeks in a neck brace before undergoing a rehabilitation process.
Walsh confirmed Ward hopes to return to the saddle as soon as possible.
Murrumbidgee Turf Club chief executive Scott Sanbrook said the thoughts of the racing community were with the three jockeys.
"The thoughts of the club and all racing participants are with the three jockeys and their families," Sanbrook said.
"The racing industry has such a tight knit community and incidents such as these brings it even closer together.
"We hope they have all as speedy recovery as possible."
Bloomfield will take a couple of days to recover but does not plan to miss any race riding.