Lucky escape after deadly car, horse trailer roll-over
WATCHING Port Macquarie trainer John Sprague walked around the parade yard for race four at the Grafton races today, his calm belied the near tragedy that occurred hours before.
Travelling with three horses to the first day of the Clarence River Jockey Club carnival, a sudden shift turned the horse float carrying three of his hopes over, and flipped the utility he and another man were travelling in 20km north of Coffs Harbour
The pair managed to escape the wreckage of the car, which had its entire top section squashed, and after checking they were okay, went to check on their horses.
The horses were managed to be herded by an onlooker into a nearby paddock and the trainer said after the seriousness of the incident it could've been a lot of worse.
"One of the horses might have to have a couple of stitches put in him," Mr Sprague said. "But it could've been a lot worse than that don't worry. We're okay, and the horses are okay."
Mr Sprague continued on and saddled up Maid Marilyn in the fourth race at Grafton, the horse not involved in the incident travelling in a separate float.
He paraded the horse around himself, with every person he came across offering their assistance and checking on his wellbeing.
The three horses in the crash, Dew Drop, Patriot and Berkinson were scratched from their races.
The crash closed one lane of the Pacific Motorway near the Emerald Beach offramp while emergency services and tow trucks cleaned up the scene.
The incident attracted a large crowd of onlookers by the highway.