A special role with premier Newcastle trainer Kris Lees is helping Lachlan Scorse stay connected to racing as he edges closer to a return to the saddle after his horror fall at Taree last October.The 19-year-old Newcastle apprentice has taken over from the late Alan “Jock” Gollogly as a trackwork clocker for Lees after leaving the Hunter Brain Injury Service at Bar Beach in early January. Gollogoly, a group 1-winning jockey and popular racing media personality, had worked for Lees as his regular clocker before losing his battle with cancer just before Christmas at age 72.
Scorse has been back living with his mother, Lara, in New Lambton while returning to the clinic for rehabilitation twice a week.
He said while a training regimen featuring Pilates has helped his physical recovery, working for Lees regularly at trackwork “was great” and had kept his mind active and connected to racing as he strives to return to the industry full-time. Scorse, the grandson of late group-1 winning hoop Alan Scorse, was lucky to survive the fall, which came less than four months into his riding career. His mount Balzando broke down mid-race, causing a chain reaction that brought down four jockeys.
He was taken to John Hunter Hospital by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter with bleeding on the brain and placed in an induced coma for a day. He miraculously escaped injuries to the rest of his body but the impact of a stroke from the head trauma created issues down his left side. He has steadily regained his strength and dexterity, and he remains open to a potential return to race riding.
He and medical specialists have been pleased with his progress and he hoped to regain his driver’s licence by the end of the month. As for riding, he is working towards getting aboard a pony owned by his partner, Macey Howlett – the daughter of Singleton trainer Todd Howlett – in the near future.
Scorse made a positive step in overcoming the mental scars from the fall when he returned to Taree for a recent race meeting. He had been concerned about triggering flashbacks but said he came through the trip well.
WORTH A SHOUT
Trainer Todd Howlett welcomed the chance for unraced filly Mic Drop in the $2 million Inglis Millennium at Randwick on Saturday.
Mic Drop, a $300,000 yearling by Microphone out of El Estoora, was first emergency for the restricted listed race over 1100 metres for two-year-olds before Brad Widdup-trained Tequila Baby was scratched late on Wednesday.
Mic Drop was second in her first trial at Hawkesbury on December 12 over 800m to Miss Piera, which was then runner-up on debut at Warwick Farm. She then won her second trial at Wyong on January 31.
Jay Ford has the ride from gate two on Saturday and Howlett was pleased to see his filly get a start.
“She’s a nice filly and she’s trialled well,” Howlett said.
“This is a big step first-up but she’s going well and we’ll just see how she goes.”
Mic Drop is one of three long-shot Hunter-trained hopes in the race. Kris Lees’ Thundering Soul, a winner on debut at Scone, was $81 from gate 11, while Brett Cavanough’s Cerons was $41 from 13. The Scone colt was second in the listed Maribyrnong Trial Stakes at Flemington in his only start.
Newcastle Jockey Club chief Duane Dowell has described a meeting with Racing NSW boss Peter V’landys about the Broadmeadow track’s stables plan as “very positive”.
Dowell and new NJC chairman Brian Judd, a former Racing NSW Country chief, made the trip to meet with V’landys on Wednesday. An assessment and review of the NJC’s development application to the state government for a much-needed but yet unfunded new stables complex at Newcastle Racecourse was the central topic.
The NJC last year lowered its sights on the design and size of the project in the hope of gaining government or industry backing. The club hopes to use the site of the existing stables for a non-racing development to provide ongoing revenue. That ambition came into sharper focus in December when the Newcastle Herald revealed a redevelopment strategy being prepared by Newcastle council and the NSW government which included a preferred scenario of creating 16,000 new homes in Broadmeadow.
Applications are open for the NJC’s new community support program, which offers grants of up to $2000 every quarter.
Dowell, who started a similar program while boss at Muswellbrook Race Club, said the initiative was for local charity, sporting, community and school groups, with a focus on supporting children and young people.
Applications for the first grant close on March 29.
Examples of projects include sports equipment, team uniforms, musical instruments, upgrades to facilities, safety equipment, services and products.