Horse falls at the first hurdle, jockey remounts ... and wins
WAIKATO jockey Aaron Kuru has produced one of the most remarkable acts of horsemanship after winning a race in which his horse Des De Jeu crashed heavily at Awapuni’s first fence.
Although warmly supported as the second favourite in the 3200m opening steeplechase event, the five-year-old gelding appeared to have lost all chance with the heavy crash.
But Kuru slid alongside the horse before leaping back into the saddle as Des De Jeu scrambled back to his feet. With barely a pause to regain his irons, and while managing to exchange a comment with the nearby clerk of the course, Kuru had his mount back in the race and charging after the leaders.
Despite the initial mishap, Des De Jeu jumped stylishly from then on to race into contention with 600m to run. Showing no signs of fatigue, he hunted down the heavily backed Gagarin over the last fence to race clear and score a stunning victory. PETER RUBERY / RACE IMAGES MORE RACING Fields, results and coverage
Trainer Mark Oulaghan admitted he had written off his charge’s chances after the first fence mishap.
‘‘We thought he wasn’t a bad sort of an animal but after the first fence I wasn’t giving him too much of a chance,’’ he said. ‘‘I was amazed he got back on as I thought he was gone.’’
Although he had shown plenty of emotion when crossing the line in front, Kuru was his normal understated self when interviewed after the race.
‘‘It was his first start over the fences and he probably landed a bit steep and just went down,’’ he said.
‘‘I don’t really know and can’t explain it as it just sort of happened. I got back on and he drew himself back into the race. He’s got plenty of ability.
‘‘After that first he jumped pretty well.’’ NZ RACING DESK
An exuberant Aaron Kuru celebrates at the winning post aboard Des De Jeu.