Jockey on life support
By TONY WHITE of Grafton's Daily Examiner JOCKEY Dainel Baker remained in a coma last night following a horrendous fall in a race at Grafton on Sunday.
The Coffs Harbour-based rider suffered severe head injuries when his mount, Hotshot Hayil, crashed into the turf 200 metres from the winning post.
The fall came less than 24 hours after Baker guided Rainbow's View into third in Saturday's Lismore Cup.
His was airlifted to the Gold Coast hospital where his mother Debbie Baker remains at his bedside. Debbie, Daniel's elder brother Tim, and his girlfriend, Linda Humphreys, also at the hospital, were yesterday praying the popular 23-year-old would recover.
Daniel underwent an emergency operation late on Sunday to stem bleeding and swelling on his brain. He was airlifted from Grafton Base Hospital around 10pm. He remained on a life support system last night.
His condition was yesterday described by a hospital spokesman as critical.
Baker was initially apprenticed to Coffs Harbour trainer Brett Bellamy before his indentures were transferred to his trainer-mother. He was riding the Bellamy-trained Hotshot Hayil when he fell.
Linda Humphreys works for Bellamy as a stablehand. Bellamy has been in constant contact with Baker's mother since the fall.
"Daniel is still on life support," Bellamy said after a conversation with Debbie Baker late yesterday. "The doctors plan to do more scans tonight.
"They are having trouble stopping the brain haemorrhaging and swelling."
Asked how Mrs Baker was holding up, Bellamy took a deep breath.
"Like any mother she is very concerned and very upset," he said.
"Her whole world has crumbled. She's always been extremely close to Daniel.
"Debbie just doesn't see life going past without Daniel. I've told her to just try and keep her chin up.
"Hopefully, in some small way, the unbelievable amount of support she and the family have received might help.
Everyone, I've had a million phone calls, from friends to all my owners and other people in the industry.
"Racing NSW have been terrific giving their support, love and prayers.
"Debbie is aware of that and was thankful to everyone but she remains a deeply concerned mother.
"Understandably she's a bit of a mess, she's hardly slept but keeps living in hope. We all are.
"The family are all there. There's nothing much else anyone can do."
Meanwhile, it has been revealed Baker's transfer from Grafton to the Gold Coast was delayed after an aircraft problem.
The official Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter weekly mission summary stated the service was tasked at 4.15pm, but the mission cancelled due to aircraft unserviceability.
A RACQ (Queensland) helicopter was then sought. The official release from media officer, Brian Russell, stated the service was tasked just after 6pm to airlift a 23-year-old male patient from Boambee who was in a critical condition, suffering head injuries and internal bleeding.
The flight left Grafton around 10pm.