Day At The Track

Downey sidelined after horse attack

10:55 PM 12 Feb 2014 NZDT
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Roydon Downey
Roydon Downey - will be sidelined for up to six weeks.
Duane Ranger photo

Imagine being pinned down for 20 to 30 seconds and having your right bicep savaged by a horse. Well that’s exactly what happened to Kumeu horseman Roydon Downey just before four o’clock last Sunday afternoon.

“He held me down and I couldn’t do anything but just lay there and let him do what he had to. If I didn’t remain calm, and had I put up a fight, I would have been stuffed.

“He would have savaged me more,” Downey told HRNZ from North Shore Hospital.

Downey was trimming the feet of one of his father Errol’s horses at Kumeu, west of Auckland.

“The horse was gelded late in life (six months ago) and was still displaying stallion tendencies. He started to get real angry when I was doing his last foot.

“He latched onto my bicep and kept holding on to me, leaving me helpless on the ground. It was a bit scary alright, but it could have been worse,” the 26-year-old said. 

“He bit me right down to the bone. If I had put up a fight I’m sure he would have ripped my arm right off, but I’ve got movement in my hand and the doctors said I will recover okay,” he added. 

Surgeons operated on Downey on Monday afternoon (February 10) to remove bone chips from his upper arm. 

“They said I was lucky that the bite didn’t hit any main arteries and it didn’t leave any infection in my bone.

“I’ve had better days, but that’s one of my guns gone for a while,” Downey joked.

The injury comes just three months after Downey took over from ‘Hall-of-Famer’ Maurice McKendry as the number one driver at Lincoln Farms, which employs him at Huapai. 

In late November director, John Street, and trainer Ray Green, agreed that Downey should be their main man in the sulky.

“Roydon doesn’t get to drive good winning chances all that often and it is hard for young guys like him to get a decent go. We are pleased that he now gets his chance and we have great confidence in him,” Green said at the time.

Downey has been driving since the 2004-2005 season. Since then he has saluted the judge 82 times from 1,042 drives. He’s also placed on 148 occasions and netted $678,788 in stakes.

He became an open driver this season and has so far won nine of his 75 drives. His best season was in 2009-2010 when he won 20 races and $142,267.

“Downey said he was disappointed the prognosis would leave him on the side-line for four to six weeks – especially at Auckland Cup time.

Downey was disappointed that wouldn’t be able to drive promising 4-year-old Love You trotter, San Diego Love which he qualified at Alexandra Park just a day before his accident.

“I was also looking forward to driving Ray’s Young Guns heat winner, Chachingchaching, as well as Ray’s other good pacers including likely Auckland Cup starter Besotted, and filly Lincoln’s Megastar,” said Downey.

It’s not the first injury Downey has suffered. He has broken bones in his hand, and about a year ago he tore the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) in his knee.

So what’s Downey going to do in his spare time?

“Well there’s a five day (cricket) test starting on Friday, and then in the weekend there’s the Auckland (rugby league) Nines.

“Who knows after that. I’ll be itching to get back though, because I really enjoy my job and I’m very grateful to my employers for the opportunities I have been given.”

By Duane Ranger (Harness Racing New Zealand)

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