Australian Racing defends safety standards after two deaths

The head of the Australian Racing Board has defended safety standards at the country’s racecourses after the death of two women jockeys this week.

Carly-Mae Pye died from injuries she suffered in a fall at Callaghan Park racecourse in Rockhampton, Queensland on Monday, while apprentice Caitlin Forrest was killed by a fall at the Murray Bridge course in South Australia on Wednesday.

“Tracks have never been safer with plastic running rails and better cambers but we still have catastrophic injuries and losses of life,” chief executive Peter McGauran told Sydney’s Sky Sports Radio.

“Safety equipment is better than it has ever been but with 500 to 600 kilogramme horses going that fast, the jockeys are always at risk.”

McGauran said attempts to improve standards for safety helmets had been hindered by difficulties in finding a manufacturer for a more protective prototype.

This week’s deaths follow those of Desiree Gill on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland last November and Simone Montgomerie, who died at Darwin racecourse in Northern Territory the previous August.

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