Day At The Track

Fall puts Kate out of action

09:33 AM 04 Apr 2020 NZDT
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Kate Attard
Kate Attard

Energetic Mildura equine dentist and harness racing trainer Kate Attard is facing months of rehabilitation after a seemingly-innocuous post-race scramble at her home track at Thursday night’s meeting.

The skilled horsewoman trains a team of around 10 horses with her father Pat and her teenage daughter Charli at Cardross, near Mildura, and jumps in the race-sulky only rarely these days.

But under the COVID-19 regional racing protocols, which prevents drivers from elsewhere in the State travelling to Mildura meetings, Kate elected to get back in the spider.

Her horse in the second race, Heza Western, went across the line sixth, but a number of runners spread across the track tightened after the line, and Kate tumbled from the cart.

“I was excited to be back driving last night and was just getting back in the swing of it in race two!” Kate laughed.

“All I remember is going across the line, then another horse coming at me sideways – I pulled back and across to avoid it and thought I did. But its legs hit my cart and just flipped it fast,” she said.

“I hit the ground so hard and then log rolled over and over again. I was awake the whole time. It was hurting, but I didn’t think it was that bad.”

Kate suffered three fractures and multiple hairline fractures to her pelvis and injuries to her spine in the incident, which happened in front of the float parking area, and help was on the scene immediately.

“(Trainer) Luke Watson was right where I fell – he was the first one there telling me to stay still and that I would be OK, then Charli and Dad and all the track guys and another trainer Andrew Stenhouse were all there,” Kate said.

“I thought I was OK, and tried to get up – I even took a few steps!  I really didn’t want to go to the hospital! When they did take me in the ambulance, I really thought it would just be bruising and I didn’t even take my phone with me!”

Kate was flown to the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne later in the night, where the surgeons from the trauma team are still deciding on her treatment plan, including surgery probably later today.

“It’s probably going to be five months before I will be back on my feet again, and it’s hard to think that my hospital stay will be mostly without too many visitors, because of the COVID-19 restrictions,” Kate said.

“I’m lucky to have an amazing family and my partner Matt to support me and help me, because I’ll be needing it for a while!” she said.

“I also have some lovely owners and they are letting us keep the horses going, which hopefully Dad and Charli will be able to do.”

Kate Attard and her daughter Charli

Heza Western suffered only a minor cut to the leg in the scrimmage.

Kate is known across a wide area of New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria for her passionate practice in equine bodywork and dentistry, as well as through her training. 

“I’ve had so many messages of support and care – everyone has been amazing, including the HRV Stewards Wayne Smith and Nick Murray, HRV and Michelle McGinty from Mildura Harness Racing Club,” she said.

“I’ll be OK, I always pull through and will be back doing the horses and the work I love as soon as I can,” she said.

Which, knowing Kate, will be sooner, rather than later!

Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

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