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Tragedy in Gulgong

March 03, 2022

The tragic death of Marina Morel in a recent trackwork accident once again highlights the danger riders face every time they mount a horse. 

Marina, a 30-year-old French national, had been riding trackwork in Australia for the past 8 years.  About 6 months ago, she fulfilled her dream of becoming a jockey and rode in 10 races as an apprentice before being temporarily sidelined by injury.

On Tuesday 8th February, whilst riding trackwork at Gulgong racecourse, her horse fell and she was flung to the ground. Marina was airlifted to Westmead Hospital, but never regained consciousness.  She passed away on Saturday 12th February.

ARCC Chaplain Colin Watts provided practical and emotional support at the hospital to Marina's close friends who were acting as 'next of kin' until her mother arrived from France late on Thursday evening. He was able to assist them in dealing with the hospital processes which were greatly complicated by the 'code red' policies in place due to Covid-19.  Colin was also able to connect them with the hospital chaplaincy network who were able to provide spiritual support inside the hospital.

Accompanied by Tony Crisafi (NSW Jockey's Association), Colin attended the airport to greet Marina's mother and later attended the "Racing Mates" gathering at Gulgong organised by Phillip O'Brien and Pat Webster (Racing NSW) to provide support to those who worked with Marina - some of whom had not only witnessed the accident but had provided first aid whilst waiting for the ambulance to arrive.

A Memorial Mass was held at the Catholic Church in Mudgee.  Colin arranged for it to be livestreamed for those unable to attend and provided the footage to the rest of the family back in France.  He also conducted a memorial ceremony for Marina at the subsequent Mudgee race meeting (pictured). Again, this footage was sent to the family in France (courtesy of Sky Racing) who took great comfort from the obvious love and respect shown for Marina by those who knew her in Australia.

We grieve with the family and the Mudgee/Gulgong racing community over the death of Marina. ARCC will continue supporting the family, friends and community members through the next stage as various formalities are completed and Marina's body returns to France.

(Photos courtesy of Col Boyd Photography, Mudgee)