FUNERAL arrangements were being made on Monday for former Rockhampton jockey Corey Gilby who died in Townsville Hospital on Sunday night after his family made the heartbreaking decision to turn off his life support.
Mr Gilby, 25, died from critical injuries, believed to have included a broken neck, as a result of what can only be described as a freakish accident after a horse he was riding in a track gallop fell and rolled on him at Julia Creek racecourse on Saturday.
Earlier he had ridden unsuccessfully and without incident during the five-race card in the north-western centre before riding a horse as part of a two-horse training gallop after the last race.
The accident happened about 60 metres past the winning post and reports, although unofficial, indicate his mount may have tripped as a result of its protective leg gear having come loose.
It has been reported the horse tripped and rolled on the stricken jockey several times.
North Queensland stewards chairman Ian Brown confirmed he had heard such reports.
"We will be investigating the fall and exactly what took place. Nothing is official at this stage but I have heard reports that bandages on the horse could have come loose and it came down," Mr Brown said.
Mr Gilby was flown to Townsville Hospital on Saturday night and placed on life support pending the arrival of his family and relatives.
Mr Gilby was at one stage apprenticed to Rockhampton trainer Jack Garland and he had many friends living in the local area.
He enjoyed success as an apprentice jockey in south-east Queensland as well as in southern New South Wales when apprenticed to Albury trainer Brett Cavanough.
During his time with Mr Cavanough as an 18-year-old, he cheated death when struck by lightning in a track gallop accident.
"Corey was thrown from the horse when the lightning hit. It was like chain lightning and Corey got the brunt of it," Mr Cavanough said.
Miraculously, he escaped without even burn marks.
In recent years he honed his skills on remote Queensland tracks, being based at Mt Isa, and more recently at Julia Creek.
Mr Gilby's untimely death is a poignant reminder of the inherent dangers jockeys encounter in their passion for riding thoroughbreds.
Racing Queensland Limited yesterday posted a notice on its website noting the death of Mr Gilby with "great sadness".
It is an emotion shared by countless thousands in the close-knit racing industry not just in Australia, but throughout the racing world.
While it may be of little comfort to those closest to him, Mr Gilby lost his life in what he loved doing best - riding racehorses.
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