Jockey lifestyle a lure to return despite horrific falls

Frater was in hospital for more than six weeks.Frater was in hospital for more than six weeks. Photo: Supplied

Being a jockey is more than just a job, it’s a lifestyle, and that’s why Canberra apprentice jockey Carly Frater will continue riding despite still recovering from a horrific fall – and she expects Melbourne Cup winner Michelle Payne will do the same.

Frater broke her pelvis in two places in a trackwork incident where a young horse got “spooked”, reared up and fell on top of her in February.

Frater was put in traction and spent more than six weeks in hospital.

Carly Frater in hospital after breaking her pelvis in two places.Carly Frater in hospital after breaking her pelvis in two places.

She’s recovering at her fiance’s parents’ house in Orange as she slowly works her way back to full health.


The doctors and physios are happy with Frater’s progress and she’s mindful of following their advice and not becoming impatient. Despite the accident happening three months ago, Frater’s still not allowed to walk more than one kilometre in a day.

It’s the second big fall she’s had inside 18 months, after she was knocked out and suffered seizures in a three-horse fall at Wagga Wagga in August 2014.

Frater says racing is "more a lifestyle than a job".Frater says racing is “more a lifestyle than a job”.

But the dangerous nature of racing hasn’t deterred Frater from the sport she loves, which she describes more as a way of life than a job.

She loves riding the horses and it’s something that’s been a part of her life for years.

Payne was injured in a fall at Mildura on Monday and had surgery on her abdomen the following day.

“I’ve had a few falls in my time and I’ve not really been put off. It’s something I know happens in this game,” Frater said.

“As long as I can get back up and keep going forward, that’s what I’ll keep doing.

“It’s probably one of the more dangerous sports around, but it’s more a lifestyle than a job.

“I’ve grown up around horses and it’s something that I love doing so I can’t really see myself doing anything else.

“As for Michelle … I hope she makes a full recovery, she’s tough … I’m sure she’ll carry on as well.”

Normally, dealing with visa applications would be a mundane inconvenience, but the Scottish-born hoop said it was something to keep herself busy after being bedridden for so long.

Frater has been in Australia for about five years and is applying to become a resident with dual citizenship her goal.

“I’m in the middle of doing my last part of my permanent visa [application] – there’s a lot of paperwork involved, so I guess you could say it’s good timing that I’m off at the minute because if I was working I wouldn’t have time to do it,” she said.

If she wasn’t out injured Frater would be riding for the Barbara Joseph and Paul Jones stable at Canberra’s Thoroughbred Park on Friday.

Joseph and Jones have three runners – Mercurial Lad in the two-year-old handicap (1000 metres), as well as Charfueled and Overheard in the class 1 and maiden plate (1600m).

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