Career of Michael ‘The King’ Coleman may be over after freak accident

Horse Racing Michael Coleman jockey
Michael Coleman: recovering in hospital after riding accident. Photo: Trish Dunell

By Jon Lees

New Zealand: Michael Coleman, one of New Zealand’s most successful jockeys, could be facing the end of a highly decorated career after suffering multiple injuries when a horse rolled on top of him.

Update: ‘The shove I needed’ – injuries tell veteran jockey Michael Coleman it’s time to retire

The 50-year-old, who has ridden 2,130 winners in New Zealand, suffered three fractures in his pelvis, a broken femur and damage to his thigh bone in an accident at the Rotorua Trials on Tuesday.

Coleman was riding a four-year-old mare who reared up and then over onto her jockey.

The jockey is in the high dependency unit of Waikato Hospital where he has undergone surgery on his leg but is awaiting another operation on his pelvis.

Speaking to the New Zealand Herald, Coleman said: “It is not great obviously but I am not in too much pain. But I realise these injuries will not be easy to come back from, especially at my age.

“I am not thinking about the future too much, I just want to get the operations out of the way, so I am not making any final decision on my career right now. But yes, it would be a long road back.”

During a career in which he became known as ‘The King’, Coleman has ridden 191 Group and Listed winners and established the remarkable record of having ridden at least one G1 winner a season for the last 20 years.

He rode New Zealand champion Xcellent in all his starts and the partnership came close to winning the 2005 Melbourne Cup, in which they finished a close third behind Makybe Diva.

Coleman was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis aged 23, a condition which he has continued to manage during his time in the saddle.

• For more news from New Zealand, visit the LoveracingNZ website

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