Fallen jockeys unlikely to walk again

The two track riders injured in a fall at Toowoomba are unlikely to walk again.

Queensland stewards have opened an inquiry into Saturday's fall which left Ben Saunders , 54, and Wade Clasohm, 47, with severe spinal injuries.

Saunders and Clasohm were riding work early on Saturday morning when one of the horses broke down and collided with the other sending both riders to the ground.

They were initially taken to the Toowoomba General Hospital but then transferred to the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane on Sunday.

Both have since undergone surgery on their lower backs.

Queensland Jockeys' Association secretary Pam O'Neill, a former top rider, has been in touch with both riders' families.

"The families have unfortunately told me that both are expected to never walk again. It obviously is a tragedy for not only the families but the entire racing community," O'Neill said.

She said the QJA had offered all the support it could to both riders.

"We got straight onto WorkCover and I must say they have been fantastic. If they have to stay in Brisbane for an extended period we want them and their families to have enough money," she said.

O'Neill said there would several fund raising events planned in the coming weeks.

Saunders and Clasohm are well known throughout Queensland.

Saunders rode as a jockey and was a successful apprentice creating history when he and his sister Nerida ran the quinella at a race at Eagle Farm in July 1982.

He had a stint as track manager at Toowoomba before returning to trackwork riding.

Clasohm was a successful apprentice with Roy Dawson at Eagle Farm in the 1980s before riding mainly in the provincial areas.

The Queensland Racing Integrity Commission hopes to complete n inquiry into the fall within weeks.
 

By Mark Oberhardt

BRISBANE, April 11 AAP