The close-knit Darwin racing community is trying to come to terms with the death of jockey Melanie Tyndall in a race fall at Fannie Bay racecourse.
Tyndall became the second jockey to die in 48 hours after Victorian apprentice Mikaela Claridge lost her life in a trackwork accident at Cranbourne on Friday.
Andrew O’Toole, chief executive of Thoroughbred Racing Northern Territory, said Tyndall’s fall on Saturday at first seemed innocuous.
“It’s really hard to take when we lose one of our own,” O’Toole told Sky Thoroughbred Racing.
“We are a small community of less than 20 jockeys.
“It seemed Melanie clipped heels and was attended to immediately.
“She was conscious and we were hopeful she would be OK.
“But she got to Royal Darwin Hospital and unfortunately passed away.”
O’Toole said 32-year-old Tyndall combined riding with being a constable in the NT police force.
“Melanie was a remarkable young lady,” he said.
“She had been riding since 2012. She gave it away in 2017 to join the police force.
“She became a constable and then made a comeback. She was remarkable balancing both jobs.”
In 2013, jockey Simone Montgomerie died in a fall on Darwin Cup day.
TRNT and the Darwin Turf Club will hold a media conference on Sunday afternoon.
Australian Jockeys’ Association chairman Des O’Keeffe said Claridge’s fall was also one that at first seemed simple.
“Mikaela and another rider, Jamie, were trotting on the sand trails,” he said.
“Something spooked the horses and both riders came off.
“Jamie got up and she expected Mikaela to get up.”
O’Keeffe said the AJA and other authorities were there to offer support and counselling to any racing participant, not just riders.