Horse falls at the first hur­dle, jockey re­mounts ... and wins

Sunday News - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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