A JUMPS race at Warrnambool was five minutes away from being called off yesterday after two jockeys were injured in a fall.
The Rookie Jumpers series final, which was scheduled to run at 1.15pm, was put back almost 70 minutes after ambulances that needed to take injured jockeys Richard Eynon and Aaron Lynch to hospital were delayed.
The pair both fell in the previous maiden hurdle race and private contract ambulances treated them at the course. Lynch suffered a fractured wrist and collarbone and Eynon concussion.
The rookie series final was in doubt after one of the three private ambulances left the track to take one of the jockeys to hospital.
Racing Victoria rules stipulate there must be three ambulances present for a jumps race to run.
Ambulances were called to carry the pair to hospital, but Racing Victoria Chief of Stewards Rod Montgomery said they were told all ambulances in Warrnambool were busy and they would have to wait for vehicles from Port Fairy and Terang.
He said they were then told the Port Fairy ambulance had been diverted to another case.
“We were only minutes away from calling the rookie jumps race off because of time constraints. The stewards were worried with the shadows at the jumps as it was getting too late in the day for jumps races to be run,” Montgomery said.
Ambulance Victoria regional manager Mick Cameron said the usual crews were on duty in Warrnambool yesterday.
He said at the time of the call, one Warrnambool-based crew was transporting a patient to hospital, while another was assigned to a higher priority case.
“We always prioritise cases and dispatch ambulances to the sickest patients first, particularly those with life-threatening conditions,” Mr Cameron said.
“Both (jockeys) were stable and we were advised that they were in the care of a doctor and a MICA paramedic at the track.
“Based on information from the scene, the patients did not require urgent ambulances under ‘lights and sirens’.”
He said a MICA responder, an ambulance manager and a Port Fairy ambulance were available to respond to further calls for high-priority patients.
“An ambulance from Terang transported one of the jockeys to hospital, while a private ambulance contractor transported the other, in consultation with Ambulance Victoria managers,” he said.
Both jockeys were discharged from hospital yesterday afternoon.