News Article

Maskiell hospitalised after Oaks win

18 / 02 / 2011 Article by: Editor
La Fantastique (Jason Maskiell) eventually overhauls Exchanges (Ben Melham) in the Tasmanian Oaks
icon Click to enlarge

FORMER Longford apprentice Jason Maskiell suffered the highs and lows of racing within the space of an hour at the TOTE Racing Centre in Launceston last night.

Maskiell partnered talented filly La Fantastique to victory in the $150,000 PFD Food Services Tasmanian Oaks to register his biggest win and give his master Robert Smerdon his second success in the race.

But a half-hour later Maskiell was being loaded into an ambulance as a result of a race fall that at first look made even the supreme optimists fear the worst.

Maskiell’s mountIdolised fell on the home turn and sent the 20-year-old crashing to the turf where he lay motionless for about three minutes.

There was a hush over the crowd but life returned to normal when the word filtered through that the star Tasmanian rider was not seriously hurt.

However, he had to be taken to hospital for precautionary measures and will no doubt be feeling the after effects of the fall for the next few days.

In the race prior to the Oaks Maskiell’s mount Waddington fractured a fetlock joint when leading the field and had to be euthanized.

But when he guided La Fantastic to victory in the Oaks Maskiell was on top of the world.

“This is great to win a race like this, especially on one of my boss’s horses,” Maskiell said.

“I liked this filly from day one and when she won at Ballarat two starts back over 1600m we thought she would be an ideal Tassie Oaks prospect,” he said.

Maskiell had La Fantastique ideally placed in the race settled just worse than midfield and when he asked her to improve at the 800m she unleashed a brilliant turn of foot to be outside the leader in what appeared a matter of seconds.

When Maskiell called on his filly for the supreme effort in the home straight she responded but it took every ounce of her courage to get past the Lee Freedman-trained Exchanges that was not giving up without a fight.

Exchanges will leave Tasmania tomorrow with three consecutive seconds to her name having been runner-up in the Thousand Guineas, Strutt Stakes and the Oaks.