Horse racing: Three jockeys in hospital, two horses die in Hong Kong big race fall

Pixie Knight comes in without jockey Yuichi Fukunaga after a fall in the Hong Kong Sprint international race, on Dec 12, 2021. PHOTO: AFP

HONG KONG (AFP) - Three jockeys were taken to hospital and two horses died after a horror fall marred the Group One Hong Kong Sprint on Sunday (Dec 12), one of the major events of the prestigious International Races at the famous Sha Tin track.

The distressing incident, in the fifth contest on Hong Kong's biggest day of racing, came as Lyle Hewitson's mount Amazing Star broke down as the field turned to enter the home straight in the 1,200 metre (six furlongs) contest.

Gallopers Lucky Patch, ridden by Zac Purton, Naboo Attack under Karis Teetan and Pixie Knight with Yuichi Fukunaga on board were caught in the melee and sent sprawling in distressing scenes.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club confirmed that Purton, Hewitson and Fukunaga were all in a stable condition after being taken to the nearby Prince of Wales hospital.

Sadly, Amazing Star and Naboo Attack both had to be euthanised humanely as a result of their injuries.

Teetan walked away unscathed and was able to fulfil the rest of his rides.

The Caspar Fownes-trained Sky Field went on to win the Sprint under Australian jockey Blake Shinn, who was understandably subdued after the race.

"I have mixed emotions for winning this race today," said Shinn after landing his first Group One victory in Hong Kong.

"Obviously, the first emotion is that my feelings are with the fallen jockeys and horses out there.

"It's a real bittersweet win and in a way it's a hard win to take in the circumstances." Golden Sixty lived up to his billing as the city's one true superstar in the Group One Hong Kong Mile.

Regular rider Vincent Ho Chak-yiu blew his rivals away in the straight to become the first horse to win 19 races in Hong Kong.

"Well, 19 (wins) is quite a lot but every race starts from zero so the next race is another uncertain race. When everything is over we'll see how great he is," Ho said.

The Japanese raiders were typically dominant, matching their output at last year's meeting with two victories.

Glory Vase won the Hong Kong Vase and Loves Only You lifted the feature Hong Kong Cup.

Glory Vase, under star Brazilian jockey Joao Moreira, took out the Vase for the second time in three years.

Yoshito Yahagi's superstar mare Loves Only You bid the perfect farewell to racing with her third Group One victory of the year.

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