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Sometimes ‘cruel’ sport takes loved jockey

The sometimes “cruel” sport of horse racing has taken the life of much-loved jockey and police officer Melanie Tyndall.

She has been remembered as a “loving, caring and professional” police officer who was taken tragically “way before her time”.

NT Police commissioner Michael Murphy said “she was well regarded and very well respected by the community”.

Australian Jockeys Association boss Martin Talty said on Sunday the small NT racing community is reeling over the death of Tyndall, who was killed during a race at Fannie Bay after clipping the heels of another horse.

“It is a sport that we all love, but sometimes it can be so cruel, and we’ve seen that in the last 24 to 48 hours,” Mr Talty said.

He said there were systems in place to help the community deal with the tragic incident.

“We will offer every single entity of that support to every one that needs it here in the Northern Territory.”

Tyndall, 32, fell off her horse after clipping heels with another runner at the 300-metre mark during the third race at Darwin’s Fannie Bay racecourse.

She received immediate treatment by the on-track paramedics but later died at the Royal Darwin Hospital.

Her death came less than 48 hours after Mikaela Claridge died after a track work fall in Cranbourne, Victoria.

Darwin Turf Club chairman Brett Dixon recognised horse racing as a “high-risk” sport.

“We have people in the industry that are passionate about racing, they understand the risks involved,” he said.

“We, as administrators … work very hard in consultation with the industry to continue to lift the level of safety and standards at our race tracks …”

“But while there’s that passion there, people are going to continue to race.”

Tyndall, originally from Murray Bridge in South Australia, moved to Darwin in late 2012 to further her racing career with trainer Michael Hickmott.

Hickmott paid tribute to Tyndall on social media, saying “if people only knew the hurdles you conquered in your life to make what you did of yourself”.

“We were all so proud of what you achieved. You defied the odds,” he said on Saturday.

Dixon said Tyndall quickly became part of the “small racing family” in Darwin.

“She rode many winners right throughout the Territory,” he said on Sunday afternoon.

In 2017, Tyndall took a break from racing to train as a police cadet, based predominantly in Katherine.

She returned to racing on a part-time basis last year and won her 150th race just a fortnight ago at the Katherine Cup.

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