REIGNING Wagga Gold Cup-winning jockey Mathew Cahill will not be back to defend his crown next week after a bad fall at Canberra last Friday.
Cahill was transferred to Royal North Shore Hospital over the weekend after being found to have fractured his C1 vertebra when falling from Shafted Hero in the Maiden Plate (1000m).
Cahill was fitted with a halo brace for his neck on Wednesday, which he will be in for a minimum of three months. He also underwent surgery for a fractured thumb.
The 54-year-old had been enjoying a fantastic season and was running second in the NSW country jockey's premiership.
Cahill was also in the box seat to secure his first Southern District Racing Association (SDRA) jockey's premiership and will now face a nervous wait over the final three months of the season.
Cahill leads the SDRA premiership by 12 with Wagga apprentice Hannah Williams and the experienced Simon Miller leading the chasing pack.
An inquiry into the reasons both Cahill and apprentice jockey Ellen Hennessy fell at Canberra has been adjourned. Unfortunately his mount, Shafted Hero, had to be euthanised on humane grounds.
GROUP one-winning Wagga trainer Tim Donnelly appears to have ridden his final piece of trackwork.
Donnelly is nursing a fracture to his neck after he fell from a horse at trackwork last Saturday week.
"I'm in a neck brace for six weeks, as long as it heals after that I should be okay," Donnelly said.
"I was galloping a horse and it shied a little bit and the saddle shifted across, I lost my balance and came off. Not ideal."
Donnelly has been riding trackwork for close to 45 years but concedes that his time may have come to give it a spell.
"Trackwork's over i think, unfortunately," he said.
"I was going to stop in a year's time anyway. It's a bit of a dampener for the business but the time was always going to come."
Donnelly is always a major player over the Wagga Gold Cup carnival and he plans to have six run next week.
That was to be seven but Whenitrainsitpours will now miss due to a foot abscess.
Donnelly will potentially have a couple in the big races with Dolphina, fresh from her third in the Murrumbidgee Cup last Sunday, to be aimed towards the $200,000 Wagga Gold Cup.
"She's a 68 rater now after running third the other day. I would have run her in the Benchmark 66, and still might because she might not get a run in the cup, but going up to a Benchmark 68, she's only a very tiny thing and 60 kilos in that race is a lot," Donnelly said.
"If she drew a barrier in the cup she'd run well. She's obviously not that class but 2000 metres from a good barrier and I think she'd finish in the first half of the field.
"We may as well have a crack at it, we can always come back in class."
Kitzbuhel will be aimed at a first-up crack at the $200,000 Wagga Town Plate (1200m) but will head to the $50,000 Country Magic Benchmark 74 (1200m) if he fails to gain a start.
Both horses will be ridden by Kayla Nisbet.
THE Wagga Town Plate is shaping up as undoubtedly the race of next week's carnival.
This week we learned that group one winner Shelby Sixtysix will be nominated and accepted in the race, with a final decision to be made by Danny Williams as to whether the horse starts at Wagga or Gosford.
That comes on the back of top SDRA sprinters Another One and Front Page already having confirmed the Town Plate as their target.
Warwick Farm trainer Mark Newnham is also going to be back to defend the title. He won with Marway last year and will return this year with Lord Olympus. The four-year-old listed winner has won six of his 16 starts and ran fourth behind Andermatt at Randwick last Saturday.
Meanwhile, Newnham is also considering bringing Spirit Ridge back for the $200,000 Wagga Gold Cup (2000m). Spirit Ridge dead-heated for second in the race last year and ran fourth in the Easter Cup at Caulfield recently.
ALBURY jockey Brodie Loy is set to relocate to Queensland.
Loy has established a close relationship with the Annabel Neasham stable and that will continue further as he moves north to be stable jockey for her satellite stable at the Gold Coast.
Neasham's satellite stable officially starts on Monday and it is expected Loy is most likely to stay in Queensland once he heads up to ride Holyfield in the $440,000 Archer at Rockhampton on Saturday week.
Loy has ridden 75 winners for the season.
JOCKEY Jack Martin has been cleared of any wrongdoing in the fall that left Nyssa Burrells sidelined with a back injury.
The stewards inquiry into the fall of Zakeriz and jockey Nyssa Burrells in last month's Albury Mile was held at Murrumbidgee Turf Club on Sunday.
The fall left Burrells with a compressed fracture of a vertebrae in her back, while Zakeriz was sent the paddock to spell.
Stewards spoke to Burrells, Martin (Demanding Mo) and apprentice Teighan Worsnop (Tough James) before determining that no action be taken.
Stewards founds that the incident was due to a number of contributing factors but were comfortable that Martin was entitled to improve into the tight run that presented. They were also satisfied that he made appropriate endeavours to straighten his mount and attempt to relieve the tightening to Zakeriz as soon as possible.
THE Doug Gorrel-trained Would Be King is onto the leaderboard in the NSW Picnic Champion Series after his win at Cootamundra on Saturday.
The one-day back-up worked a treat as Would Be King captured the Cootamundra Picnic Cup just over 24 hours after running fourth at Canberra.
Would Be King was ridden to victory by Gorrel's stable rider Anaelle Gangotena.
Saturday: Leeton (non-TAB)
Friday: Wagga (TAB)
Tuesday: Wagga (TAB)
Friday: Wagga (TAB)
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