Hong Kong: Lyle Hewitson, Zac Purton and Yuichi Fukunaga recovering after horrific falls

Horse Racing Lyle Hewitson jockey Hong Kong fall
Lyle Hewitson: South African champion jockey fractured ribs in fall in Hong Kong. Photo supplied

By Jon Lees

Hong Kong: Lyle Hewitson has been released from ICU and says he is “no pain at all” after being involved in a frightening fall which led to four horses coming down during the Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin on Sunday.

South Africa’s three-time champion jockey was one of three riders taken to the Prince of Wales Hospital after his mount Amazing Star broke down and fell, bringing down three other horses who were unable to avoid him.

Zac Purton, who suffered four fractured ribs and a broken nose, and Yuichi Fukunaga (broken collarbone) were also hospitalised while Amazing Star and Naboo Attack had to be put down. The fourth jockey involved, Karis Teetan, was unscathed.

Hewitson, 23, suffered a fractured hip, sustained cuts to his elbow and head trauma but said there were “no issues to worry about”.

He said: “I’m in no pain at all just lying in my hospital bed. I only feel pain when I need to adjust or move as it refers straight to/from my pelvis area where the fracture is.

“The doctors are happy with it saying it’s a convenient fracture that will heal without surgery and without issues. I’ve got some stitches on my left elbow as well. My CT scans on my head are stable. I just need some rest and rehab now.”

Hewitson’s news was welcomed by Purton, Hong Kong’s four-time champion jockey, who admitted he had initially feared for his colleague.

“It was an awful incident,” he said, speaking to Australian broadcaster Andrew Bensley. “I was worried for Lyle Hewitson because he was the first one to go in front of me. When he hit the ground, he just lay there like a pancake.

“He didn’t bounce at all and that’s normally a pretty bad sign when that happens, whereas I was able to roll a little bit. Even though I was in a bad spot, and a bit of pain, I was a little bit worried about how Lyle hit the ground. Because I was in so much pain I couldn’t go over to see him or check on any other riders.”

Purton was optimistic about his own situation and said he hoped to leave hospital on Monday.

He said: “I feel pretty good. I’ve got four fractured ribs, three on one side, one on the other. I have a fractured nose, which probably doesn’t mean anything because it was always a bit wonky anyway and I have a bit of a sore wrist so I’m waiting to get an MRI on that. I am pretty lucky really.”

Purton, who was riding the favourite Lucky Patch, said there was no way of avoiding Amazing Star. “I had nowhere to go and I had no time to react, it happened that quick,” he said.

“I was quite close up behind him. When he went there was only one place for me to go and that was straight over the top of him. The two horses following us as well had no option either. They were in that running line and the domino effect happened.”

He added: “I have a really big haematoma on my right biceps and I have a mark on my right wrist where there is an imprint of a shoe so the horse has stepped on my bicep then my wrist and that’s where I felt the pain initially. 

“Then I’ve got another mark on my left thigh muscle where I must have been hit or stepped on. Then I have the ribs where the horse has either kicked or squeezed me to the ground. I was winded quite badly and I have a bang mark on my right foot.”

Fukunaga, who was riding Pixie Knight, has been released from hospital and returned to Japan. Pixie Knight was reported to have suffered a fracture to his left front knee.

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