Apprentice jockey sues for $750k after CQ fall
A PROMISING female jockey has launched a $750,000 lawsuit after she was thrown from a racehorse on a Central Queensland country track and left with spinal injuries.
Apprentice jockey Nicole Vuille, who had 90 wins under her belt, was on a horse called Rahula at Dingo Race Club in August, 2016, when there was a starting gate incident.
After the starter called "three, two, one, go", the barrier gates should have opened with the word "go'', but there was a delay, Ms Vuille's claim says.
Rahula reacted to "go'' and jumped, in barrier two, but a barrier attendant grabbed the reins, pulling the horse back, and Ms Vuille fell over the front of the horse, it is alleged.
Ms Vuille, now 28, was left with cervical, lumbar and thoracic spine injuries, head and hip injuries and a psychiatric injury as a result of the 2016 accident, the claim says.
She is suing the State, Dingo Race Club, Central Highlands Regional Council, Racing Queensland and Rahula's trainer Wayne Meek.
Ms Vuille, who had raced many times at Rockhampton's Callaghan Park and had 542 Queensland country starts 198 in NSW, has not raced since the accident.
In her claim, she alleges the race club failed to ensure the barrier gates were safe and failed to act in response to previous complaints about delays in them opening and fix them.
Ms Vuille's claims says she was not warned about the delay.
She also holds the club responsible for the alleged negligence of the barrier attendant for pulling the reigns and failing to release hold when the race started.
Ms Vuille alleges the trainer should have warned her that Rahula was fractious, psychologically unfit or unfit for racing and claims he failed to adequately train the horse.
The defendants are yet to respond to the District Court claim, filed last month.
Mr Meek declined to comment, while Dingo Race Club and Racing Queensland did not respond to requests comment before deadline.
A few months before the accident Ms Vuille was described in a media report as being second in Rockhampton jockey premiership standings and "a dominant force''.
In a 2016 interview, Ms Vuille said she had taken out three premierships in the previous year.
"I've been riding horses all my life,'' Ms Vuille said.
"It was only inevitable that I was going to find a job that was riding horses and that's how I find myself racing.''
Ms Vuille acknowledged that the success of Melbourne Cup winner Michelle Payne, now the subject of a film Ride Like A Girl, had helped a lot to improve the status of female jockeys. But she said it was still going to take a long time for female jockeys to have a big break in racing and she had been knocked back by trainers who preferred male jockeys.