Rider dies in ‘freak’ accident at racecourse

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  • A 25-year-old track rider has died in Australia after falling from her horse during work yesterday (Wednesday 1 July).

    German-born Friederike Ruhle was involved in a “freak accident” at Caulfield racecourse, south of Melbourne.

    Friederike was working for local trainer Byron Cozamanis.

    The accident happened at around 5.30am. She was attended by emergency services and taken to Alfred Hospital where she later died.

    “It is with great sadness that I express my condolences to Friederike Ruhle’s loved ones on their tragic loss,” said chairman of the Melbourne Racing Club Mike Symons.

    “I have enormous respect for the significant contribution that our track riders make in preparing our equine stars for racing and the inherent risks that comes working with horses.

    “On behalf of the Committee, staff, and members of the club, our sincere sympathies go out to Friederike’s family, friends, colleagues at Byron Cozamanis Racing, and all of the racing community at Caulfield during this very sad time.”

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    The club is conducting a full investigation into the circumstances of the accident in conjunction with Victoria Police and Work Safe.

    However, it is unclear how she fell.

    “You know tens of thousands of horses are worked every day of the year around the world and accidents like this are very minimal,” one trainer told local press.

    “But when it happens, it’s tragic and heartbreaking but more so a stark and cold reminder of what dangers lie ahead for those who handle racehorses.”

    Lizz Rice a British work rider died in January after suffering serious head injuries in a fall at Caulfield.

    She was taken to Alfred Hospital after the accident on 12 January but had medical support withdrawn later that month after she showed no signs of recovery.

    Lizz had worked at Oxfordshire-based trainer Lawney Hill’s yard before moving to Australia.

    Last October two jockeys, Caitlin Forrest and Carly-Mae Pye, also died due to racecourse accidents in Australia.

    Nineteen-year-old apprentice Caitlin died after a pile up during a race on 15 October. A day earlier Carly-Mae died falling during a barrier trial at Queensland racecourse.

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