Emma Ly claims Tumut Sprint after bizarre turn of events

Main: Emma Ly lays on the ground after being dismounted ahead of race one at Tumut on Saturday.
Inset above: Emma Ly won the Tumut Sprint on the Craig Weeding-trained Big Day Out.
Inset below: Emma Ly with a happy racegoer who ended up with the jockey’s goggles.

If there are racing gods, they were at Tumut on Saturday and had some fun at the expense of participants. 

One jockey on both ends of their fun and games was apprentice Emma Ly, who went from lying flat on her back in the enclosure to winning the Tumut Sprint following a protest she wasn’t even aware of. 

Ly kicked off her day with a ride on the John and Chris Ledger-trained Speed Spooks, and the five-year-old was a bit skittish leaving the enclosure and dropped Ly on her head. 

Watching it live, it could have been a lot worse, with Ly vertical when hitting the ground, but she pulled up okay and was keen to get out and ride the horse. 

“It was just one of those things, and the horse wasn’t very well known to Chris, and he just edged me to ride it quite forward, but he wasn’t aware it was like that in the yard,” Ly told NSW Country and Picnic Racing. 

‘If he knew, he would’ve got a pony a bit earlier, but yes, I fell straight on my head to start the day.

“I was alright, and the ambulance attended to me straight away, but I didn’t need it, and I was eager to get on with the day and get the ball rolling.”

In the following race, Ly jumped aboard the Craig Weeding-trained Big Day Put, which started the equal $2.60 favourite in the 1000m Tumut Sprint Benchmark 74 Handicap.

In a thrilling finish, Ly and Big Day Out were second across the line, beaten by a flared nostril by the Garry Kirkup-trained Into The Fire (Teaghan Martin, $9,50). 

Following the race, unbeknownst to Ly, Racing NSW steward Brad Clarke lodged an objection against the winner, alleging interference at the 100m. 

He was concerned that the winner shifted outwards and impacted the chances of the fast-finishing and Fantini (Coriah Keatings, $17) from the Sarah Murray-Leslie yard, which finished fourth, beaten a long-neck.

The protest was eventually upheld, with Into The Fire deemed to have impeded the strong run of Fantini, meaning Big Day Out was promoted to first, ahead of the second-placed Mojo Magic (Jake Duffy, $2.60) from the Andrew Dale yard.

Into The Fire was relegated to fourth, and Fantini was promoted to third. 

“I had no idea the protest was going ahead, and I just asked if I could view the report just to see the run I took and how everything unfolded, and they said, ‘No, there’s a protest, and you might end up winning the race’. 

“I was shocked and didn’t even know I had won it until I was out in the mounting yard for the next race, and everyone said, ‘Well done’.

“It is bittersweet, but we got the result in the end.”

The 28-year-old finished off her meeting at Tumut by making one fan very happy when giving the racegoer her goggles.

Ly is now 21 wins into her career, with Saturday’s victory her first as a two-kilogram claiming apprentice. 

Indentured to Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott in Sydney, Ly is currently on loan to Donna Scott in Albury.

“I thought I’d come down and get some experience, and because I’m from Melbourne originally, I needed to build my connections from the ground, and it’s been really good down here,” Ly said. 

“Donna is so supportive, and even her daughter Danielle, she’s been great too as she was a jockey, and she has been encouraging Donna to put me on certain horses, and even Donna’s owners have been very supportive of me.

“I feel like I’ve put in the hard work, and I’m just hoping for the results to speak for it, and finally, it’s starting to show.”

Ly will be hoping for plenty of chances on Sunday, with Albury set to host the Southern Districts Country Championships qualifier meeting.