FORMER Toowoomba jockey Corey Gilby once survived being struck by lightning, but he was unable to live through injuries sustained in a freak race fall.
The talented hoop, 25, died in the Townsville Hospital late Sunday night after sustaining injuries in a trial gallop in Julia Creek on Saturday.
Witnesses to the accident said it appeared the bandages on the horse's legs came loose as it passed the finish line, causing the horse to trip and fall on Mr Gilby.
An investigation into what caused the accident is yet to be launched, but deputy chief steward for Racing Queensland Daniel Aurisch said a full inquiry would occur.
Mr Gilby started his apprenticeship in Brisbane with trainer Pat Duff before moving to Toowoomba to ride for Lindsay Hatch.
His long-time friend Warren Morris said a lot of what the jockey had learned was through Mr Hatch.
"A lot of his riding came from Lindsay; he taught him how to ride trackwork," Mr Morris said.
While in Toowoomba, Mr Gilby also linked with trainer Darryl Gollan, riding for Mr Gollan as an apprentice in 2007.
"I couldn't speak more highly of the kid," Mr Gollan said.
"When I first heard on Saturday morning I felt sick in the gut. I'd love to have him riding here for me now."
Mr Gilby left Clifford Park in 2008 after completing a successful apprenticeship to try his luck at tracks in Cairns, Darwin and South Australia.
But he was never far away from the action in Toowoomba, riding winners at the track in 2008 for Steele Ryan and 2010 for Mr Gollan.
Mr Morris, who owns Mocca's Feed at Hodgson Vale, flew up to Townsville to be with Mr Gilby's family when the decision was made to turn off his life support on Sunday.
"He was just a fighter mate," he said.
"Even after we turned off his life support off at 9 o'clock the doctors said he wouldn't last a dozen breaths.
"But we just watched the monitor until his heart gave out.
"He was never supposed to live past 12 years old. He was only born with 10 per cent of his stomach.
"He was struck by lightning in 2005 and also survived that.
"He was just tough, he didn't feel pain.
"He was a kid who wasn't given the opportunities for his talent. He led a bit of a loner lifestyle and had a wonderful record."
Mr Morris is now trying to sort out Mr Gilby's estate, as the jockey left behind no will.
"He'd never had a race fall before, this one was in a trial," he said.
"(Having a will) is something they should put in place for jockeys in Queensland cause you never know when your day is up."
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.