Day At The Track

David Butcher kicked in chest by horse

09:22 PM 09 Jul 2015 NZST
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David Butcher - In Waikato Hospital after being kicked in the chest by a horse
David Butcher - In Waikato Hospital after being kicked in the chest by a horse

Top reinsman David Butcher is in hospital with multiple internal injuries after being kicked in the chest by a horse at his Cambridge stable.

Butcher, 50, is in the high dependency unit at Waikato Hospital with a lacerated spleen, perforated bowel and at least one broken rib after Tuesday's accident.

Butcher's wife Wanda said her husband had been trying to catch a horse in his Cambridge yard, where he trains with his father John, when it kicked him and "sent him flying".

The biggest racehorse on the property, it caught him squarely in mid-chest.

"They're still waiting on some test results but his pancreas has been knocked around, too, and they think he might have a couple more damaged ribs as well.

"He's been in the HDU since Tuesday but they're hoping to move him out of there today."

With feeding tubes and drains attached, it was difficult for him to communicate with family and he was easily tired, she said.

"The bowel is the biggest problem because it's slow healing and the doctors say he's looking at one or two months' recovery time."

One of the country's best drivers, Butcher would find it hard being confined again – "he loves to be fit and active. But we'll get through it again".

Last year Butcher was sidelined for nearly eight months after pulling his pectoral muscle off the bone in a training accident when a horse he was leading pulled back suddenly.

But he made a successful comeback and since last November has driven 63 winners, placing him seventh on the drivers' premiership.

Before his injuries Butcher was in the prime of his career. Winner of nearly every feature race in the country, including the New Zealand Cup, the Inter Dominion Final, the Auckland Cup and the Breeders Crown, he regularly finished near the top of the premiership, notching 131 wins in 2010 and 142 wins in 2011, second only to champion Dexter Dunn.

In 2013 he represented New Zealand at the world drivers' championship in France, where he won a race at Caen.

In a career of 33 years, he has driven 2080 winners who have won $21.5 million in stakes.

The Butcher stable will line up three horses at Cambridge tonight in Star's Delight (race 3), Chrissie Jet (race 4) and True Legend (race 8).

Barry Lichter

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