Swift Witness claimed the first leg of the Princess Series in race marred by a shocking fall in the straight that left jockey Brenton Avdulla with concussion and promising filly Xtremetime suffering a catastrophic leg injury at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Xtremetime was crowded for room and fell about 100m from the finish of the Group 2 $200,000 Silver Shadow Stakes (1200m), leaving her rider Avdulla laying motionless on the turf.
Avdulla was quickly attended to by ambulance officers and race club officials and initial reports were the jockey had been knocked unconscious momentarily in the fall.
After Avdulla regained conscious, it was established there were no other apparent injuries except suspected concussion but the jockey was taken to nearby Prince of Wales Hospital.
His father-in-law, Neil Paine, ran on to the track to be with Avdulla before he was transported to hospital and told The Sunday Telegraph that the jockey was talking with ambulance officers.
John Thompson, trainer of Xtremetime, sadly confirmed his filly’s leg injury was so severe there was no other alternative but to have the three-year-old humanely put down.
Perhaps it was a small blessing that the Randwick meeting was held before empty grandstands due to Sydney’s Covid-19 lockdown.
The race result was almost inconsequential but the fall should not detract from the tough win of the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained Swift Witness.
In a blanket finish with less than two lengths separating the top five finishes, Swift Witness ($7.50) fought back after behind headed to win by a long neck from the fast finishing Latino Blend ($21) with favourite Four Moves Ahead ($2.50) a half neck away third.
Four Moves Ahead raced wide early but loomed up to win halfway down the straight but all honours were with the winner Swift Witness who was three-wide without cover.
Swift Witness provided Waterhouse with her third Silver Shadow Stakes win after previous successes with Speak Fondly (2015) and Ha Ha (2001), giving her a share of the training record with Jack Denham, John Thompson and Chris Waller.
“This filly is as tough as teak,’’ Waterhouse said of Swift Witness.
“After she trialled when she ran such fast time, we took her back to basics by working her between horses.
“Adrian and I didn’t want her to bunny hop in the straight like she did in her trial. We wanted to teach her to relax in her races which she did so well today.’’
Brenton Avdulla is attended to after a fall in the Silver Shadow Stakes. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Waterhouse, who watched the race meeting from home, said she sensed Four Moves Ahead had taken a narrow lead from Swift Witness about 200m from the finish.
“When the favourite came at her, Swift Witness rolled up her sleeves, said look at me and ‘punched’ her right in the nose,’’ Waterhouse said.
The Hall of Fame trainer said the obvious target for Swift Witness next start is the second leg of the Princess Series, the Group 2 $200,000 Furious Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick in two weeks.
But whether Swift Witness can stretch her speed out to 1400m for the Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes and then 1600m for the Group 1 Flight Stakes which complete the coveted there-year-old fillies spring series.
“To me she is more a sprinter, I don’t think she will get out over too far because she is so brilliant,’’ Waterhouse said.
“We will go to the Furious Stakes next because that is still at 1200m and set weights.
“Then we will think about the Tea Rose Stake and whether we go to the mile for the Flight Stakes
“But she is a lovely type of tenacious filly that we do so well with, the ones I love to have in our stable
“She is back with a vengeance and with give them something to chase when they meet again.’’
Waterhouse then had the final word on the fall which marred the Silver Shadow Stakes.
“The fall looked terrible,’’ she said.
“Unfortunately, these things do happen in racing but it is something no one wants to see.’’
Originally published asAvdulla fall sours Swift’s successful return
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