AS THE rest of the racing nation was abuzz with the final countdown to Black Caviar's brilliant return at Flemington, Grafton jockey Allan Chau was being rushed to Grafton Hospital on a spinal board.
Chau was thrown to the ground when his mount Simple Love crashed to the turf on the home turn during the meeting at the Clarence River Jockey Club on Saturday.
As the rest of the field galloped to the winning post, Chau and his horse Simple Love remained motionless on the turf.
Ambulance paramedics were quickly on the scene to attend to the unconscious Chau, placing him on a spinal board and transferring him to Grafton Hospital.
The horse eventually freed itself from the running rail to canter down the straight to the cheers of the Ulmarra Chip-In Cup day crowd, without signs of obvious injury.
Initial reports from Grafton Hospital suggested Chau had regained consciousness and could feel his arms and legs, but couldn't move his neck and had some bleeding from the ears and nose.
With a broken neck on his prior medical record, doctors are taking no chances.
Racing NSW Jockeys Medical Liason Officer, Dr Ron Muratore, has confirmed that Allan has a fractured C2, and he will now be transferred him to Gold Coast Hospital for further treatment.
Chau was to be flown via helicopter to the Gold Coast on Saturday night, but poor weather has postponed that move until this morning (Sunday).
``Allan has had CT scans and has a fractured C2 vertebrae,'' fellow jockey and close friend Matthew Paget said.
``He's conscious, and can move his arms and legs, so at this early stage it doesn't look as though it will impact his use of his arms and legs.
``It will mean a fair time out of the saddle, and given that it is his second broken neck, it will be up to the doctors to assess the risk if he is to come back to riding in the future.
In April 2011, Chau broke two vertebrae in his neck, the C4 and C5, fractured four ribs and broke another when he was thrown over the head of Glenrock Doney in a race fall at Port Macquarie.
We will endeavour to keep updates coming through on this link when they come to hand.
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