Newcastle apprentice jockey Samantha Clenton was facing surgery in a Sydney hospital next week after sustaining “crushed” vertebrae and a fractured collarbone in a second shocking race fall inside five months.
Clenton was in John Hunter Hospital on Sunday following a fall from the Steve Hodge-trained Colour Of Love at Scone on Friday in race seven. The leading NSW apprentice last season, Clenton was near the rail at the rear of the field when Colour Of Love fell at the 400-metre mark.
Clenton, who works for leading Newcastle trainer Kris Lees, hit the ground hard and lost consciousness briefly. With her father Des by her side, she was treated by paramedics at the scene before taken to John Hunter Hospital by the Hunter Westpac Rescue Helicopter. The eighth and last race was abandoned.
In a report on Saturday, Racing NSW doctor David Duckworth was quoted as saying Clenton had fractured two vertebrae and her left collarbone.
The jockey's sister, Mandy Clenton, said on Sunday that she had been told Samantha had five “crushed” vertebrae, the fractured collarbone and potential breaks in her ribs and wrist.
It was initially thought Clenton would have surgery on her back in Newcastle on Monday or Tuesday, but she was now likely to be transported by helicopter to Sydney for the operation later this week.
“She’s in Newcastle at the moment and we’re looking at sending her to Sydney to be operated on,” Mandy said.
“The pain is obviously still really bad.
“It’s just not fair.”
She said Samantha’s spinal cord was “fine” but the extent of her injuries were unclear.
“She has crushed vertebrae, a fracture to the other collarbone and they are still looking into her wrist, she’s still got a lot of pain in her wrist as well,” she said.
"I think she has a couple of cracked ribs, but I’m not 100 per cent sure.”
Clenton was in a stable condition on Sunday.
“I haven’t really spoken to her,” Mandy said.
“The times I have I’ve spoken to her she has been really out of it. She’s just so hard on the morphine at the moment, so that obviously makes it really hard. She will talk to you for 30 seconds then she’s out to it.”
The fall came less than a week after Clenton scored her first winner in a comeback from another heavy fall, on May 23 at Taree. The ride on Friday was Clenton’s 25th since returning to racing on September 12 from a broken right collarbone and other injuries sustained in the Taree accident in which she was one of five apprentices to fall. She rode a winner at Port Macquarie on October 8 and another at Tamworth last Monday.
Mandy said Dr Duckworth was organising her sister’s care but it appeared she would likely return to Sydney Adventist Hospital in Wahroonga, where she stayed after her fall in May.
After recently giving up employment as a track work jockey for Kris Lees herself because of injuries, Mandy said riding was “a tough gig” but the family would support her sister in whatever choice she made in her career.
“It’s a massive setback and whatever the decision she makes with her career, it will be hers and we’ll just stick by her regardless of what that is,” she said.
Newcastle trainer Steve Hodge said Colour Of Love came through the fall without apparent injury but the mare would be spelled and monitored closely.
Hodge said the second heavy fall was shocking luck for Clenton, who appeared to have Colour Of Love roll over her after the mare looked to have clipped heels with another runner and tripped.