Injury keeps Coleman out of the saddle


JOCKEY Darron Coleman will be out of the saddle for up to six weeks after a race fall at Ballina on Sunday left him with suspected ligament damage to his knee.

The multiple Northern Rivers premiership winning jockey underwent scans on the injured knee yesterday as stewards confirmed apprentice jockey Luke Dittman had been suspended for careless riding over the fall.

Dittman was suspended until February 16 for shifting in at the 200m mark aboard Hayil and Pace in the $7,000 Rating 65 Handicap (1300m) while not clear of Coleman aboard St Martin’s Lane.

As a result Coleman clipped the heals of Bitenrun and crashed to the turf.

“I went to go for a run between two horses and the outside horse shifted in,” he said.

“I got checked off the heals and came down.”

Coleman’s damaged knee continues a horror run of injury that has seen him sidelined for over a year out of the past 19 months.

The champion hoop had only returned to racing two months ago after a fractured heal in a track work accident put him out for three months.

Five months before that he was out for nine months after breaking his foot in five places in track work in 2006.

Stewards also confirmed they will conduct an inquiry into apprentice jockey Ben Looker’s fall from $3 favourite Annoyance in the $7,000 Maiden Handicap (1000m) earlier on the same day.

Looker escaped injury but did not ride for the rest of the meeting.

The final race on Sunday’s card sparked controversy when eight horses were balloted out.

According to Ballina trainer Kevin Nipperess, the $7,000 Rating 63 Handicap (1600m) attracted 26 acceptances and should have been split into two separate races.

“A lot of trainers were very disappointed with that,” he said.

Former Ballina Jockey Club chairman Garry Kliese said the club was in favour of splitting the race but could not get approval from Racing NSW.

Kliese said at one stage there were 36 nominations and he phoned Racing NSW twice to ask for approval to split it.

“It wasn’t the Club. We were prepared to split it. I had a sponsor organised to take the eighth race,” he said.

“Unfortunately it was out of my control.

“I was trying my butt off. I hate seeing horses getting balloted out without getting the run.”

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