Jason Hoopert (left) with Michael Schrapel and Melody O’Brien, the jockey that managed to both ride and win a fashion prize on Tradies race day at Gatton in 2015 (Photo: Ross Stanley)

Gunsynd's GossipJuly 1, 2020

In late May, Jason Hoopert suffered damage to four vertebrae when his mount Chantilly Bay broke down in the straight at Mount Isa’s Buchanan Park racecourse.

Mercifully the former Wondai apprentice’s spinal cord was not impacted when he was dislodged from the mare that was subsequently euthanised.

After an horrendous fall at Kilcoy in 2006, Hoopert was told his race riding days were over.

He was in a coma when he took out his first South-East Country Racing Association Jockeys premiership.

However, through extraordinary determination and painstaking efforts, he bounced back after an absence of more than four years, adding the SECRA titles for 2015-16, 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 seasons.

One of his most satisfying feats was chalking up 100 wins after being written off.

Jason also picked up Nanango Cups with Mimics (2013) and Tampere (2016).

After developing his camera skills to a professional level during his long lay off, Hoopert relished the honourable excitement of being the official photographer at the 2017 National Jockeys Trust’s celebratory function at Doomben.

Subsequently, Jason was injured again when he fell from Magestical Maiden at Gympie on July 21, 2018.

In recent weeks, things had been looking up for the ex-Sunshine Coast horseman.

He had registered four wins in the fortnight prior to the accident, kicking off with a victory on May 9 at Mount Isa.

There was a double at Barcaldine seven days later and, after trekking 635 kilometres, he scored at Cloncurry the very next day.

Jason was due to take up a new job to augment his income on the Monday following his latest mishap.

The fraternity wishes him a speedy recovery.

No doubt he will have time to work on his website galleries at jasonhoopertphotography.com

Jason Hoopert and Tampere after their 2016 Nanango Cup victory (Photo: Ross Stanley)

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Steps Towards Normality

The end of the spectator-free race days that were introduced to combat the ramifications of Covid-19 is hopefully in sight.

On June 19, Racing Queensland announced that “patrons will soon be permitted to return to Queensland racecourses following the approval of an Industry COVID Safe Plan.

“Having sought and received approval through Queensland Health, a staged return to on-course activities will commence across the state from Monday, June 22.

“In line with the Queensland Government’s Roadmap to easing restrictions, clubs who opt-in to the racing industry’s COVID Safe Plan will be permitted 20 patrons per designated area during the new stage.

“The next phase, earmarked to begin on July 10, will increase to 100 patrons per designated area.”

In order to be compliant with the COVID Safe Plan, clubs will be required to meet a range of guidelines including the segregation of licensed participants from patrons and social distancing measures including no more than one person per 4 square metres in each designated area.

Importantly, each race club will need to conduct its own site assessment to determine how many designated areas it can make available to patrons.

Nanango Race Club, with meetings scheduled for August 1 and September 12, no doubt will be exploring its options in coming weeks.

The Brisbane Racing Club, the operator of Eagle Farm and Doomben, has recently conducted programs that were witnessed by owners, members and members’ guests.

However, the capital city club has no plans to include the general public during these times of restricted numbers.

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Bits And Bridles

  • Brian “Bunny” Laherty’s livery took the eye at Dalby on June 20. The lime green set with the black rabbit was sported by Courtingrock, the fourth placegetter at $15 in the Maiden. The newcomer, having failed at all three previous career outings at Port Macquarie and Hawkesbury, came from a rearward position on the soft track. The filly by the Easing Rocking stallion The Fat Man is yet to compete on good going.
  • While several world leaders have not acted like role models during the pandemic, Her Majesty the Queen certainly has behaved admirably. She has been based at Windsor Castle, her usual abode during the Royal Ascot festival.
  • The Berkshire course, situated only six miles from the Castle, was founded in 1711 by Queen Anne. And Queen Elizabeth II apparently had never missed the famous meeting during her 68 year reign.
  • It must have been tempting to request an exemption and cut a sole figure for the 2020 renewal. Tactical, her hopeful in the Windsor Castle Stakes, dutifully saluted.

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