Day At The Track

Lady Luck looks down on Tassie driver

03:15 PM 12 Feb 2020 NZDT
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Stacey Lear smash photos,Harness racing
On of the sensational series of photographs captured by Stacey Lear
Stacey Lear photo

Veteran reinsman Peter Dornauf is still counting his blessings after escaping serious injury in a spectacular harness racing incident.

In an action-packed Launceston Discretionary Stakes on Sunday night, Dornauf got his horse away like a bullet from a 10 metre handicap, only to be confronted with another runner rearing high in the air and in his pathway.

"It's strange when you are in a dangerous situation, just what goes on in your head. I remember thinking that this could be the end for me. I was very, very lucky. I really was," Dornauf said.

"I could see what was unfolding. But I couldn't dodge too much and try and avoid it. I was worried my horse was going to cop the brunt of it-then I would have been in big trouble with my wife Karen!" he said, tongue-in-cheek.

The drama unfolded after take two of the $12,000 standing start feature event, conducted at the picturesque Mowbray Racing Centre by the Launceston Club.

When the tapes were released, Jaccka Len in barrier two, dwelt briefly before rearing up high in a full stretch despite the efforts of reinsman Ricky Duggan. Starting from the inside of the 10m handicap, Dornauf had Sea Double Ugrant out of the blocks like a shot out of a gun.

Jaccka Len then twisted toward the inside and come down just when Sea Double Ugrant was darting through the inside.

"For a split second I thought the horse was going to come crashing down on mine," Dornauf said.

"But he got me instead. I didn't get hit as bad as it appeared on the race reply. It could have been way worse as he could have come down a lot harder," he said.

"I got knocked out of the sulky pretty smartly and landed in under the running rail. I initially thought I'd broken my arm, but my biggest worry was my horse.

"He gets really cranky when he's stirred up. Thankfully the sulky stayed upright when he took off. The clerk of the course Richard Housego did a great job and was able to grab him before any harm was done."

Watch the race replay here (make sure you watch the head-on vision!):

Check out on-course photographer @Stacey Lear's brilliant series of shots here:

Dornauf said he ended up with a sore wrist and some back pain.





The sensational series of photographs captured by Stacey Lear

"There's a few other aches. I've been lucky because I've been driving for nearly 50 years and haven't had too many falls. But now Karen and my 12-year-old grandson Dylan reckon I'm too old and want to sack me!" he said.

"I actually only took the drive because Mark Yole was unavailable because he had a horse of his own in the race. Our horse won a few starts back and we have the Easter Cup at Launceston in mind for him-but I won't be driving him!"

The Dornauf family are well-known through the deeds of former super mare of the late 1980s and early '90s -Jane Ellen (Torado Hanover-Ima Goldie (Golden Alley). She was a winner of 29 races from 42 starts for an impressive $375,000 bankroll. Jane Ellen, bred by Karen, won at her fourth start in a 2yo event at Launceston when trained and driven by Peter.

She won again later at Carrick before entering the all-powerful stable of the time, Bob and Vin Knight, who strung together nine consecutive victories with the pacer. Jane Ellen went onto win many group one and other top races in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Hobart.

These included the Victorian Oaks Preview and $60k final, Ladyship Cup final of $30k at Moonee Valley, 4yo and 5yo Championship at Harold Park, 1990 Mildura Pacing Cup heat and $30k final, and the George Johnson Stakes of $30k in Hobart.

 

Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

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