Nunes out, hurt in fall, Latest Racing News - The New Paper

Nunes out, hurt in fall

Leading jockey faces a long time out of the saddle after hurting neck in Sprint drama

Manoel Nunes’ dramatic fall from the well-backed Alqantur in the Group 3 Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint (1,200m) on Saturday was not without harm after all.

Singapore’s leading jockey was even able to return home, seemingly unscathed. But a precautionary check in a hospital later at night revealed he had suffered a hairline fracture to his neck.

Nunes was puzzled as he had felt little pain, just some discomfort around the neck area overnight. 

“I thought I was okay, but because the fall impacted my neck, I wanted to make sure I didn’t have any fracture,” said the three-time Singapore champion jockey.

“I went to Gleneagles Hospital for an MRI scan, and even stayed for one night for observation.

The next day, the doctors said I had a small fracture to a vertebra on the left side of my neck.

“I was shocked as I was fine after the fall, just a few cuts on my lips. I didn’t move until they stretchered me to the ambulance because I didn’t want to risk any further injury in case I had any.

“They’ve given me a neck brace. Doctors told me I may have to go for surgery. But I’m waiting for a second opinion from an orthopaedist later in the afternoon.”

The Brazilian ace does not know yet how long he will stay out of the saddle, but fears it may be a while. 

“I’m definitely out for the next two weeks as I have to leave the neck brace on to take out the inflammation. Then it will all depend if I go for surgery or not,” he said.

A prolonged absence may well reduce his massive 34-win lead on the premiership. He will also lose many plum rides, including Tiger Roar in this Sunday’s Group 2 Stewards’ Cup (1,600m).

With Nunes as first-time partner, the Michael Clements-trained Champion Three-Year-Old returned with a bang two weeks ago. 

Alqantur was also prepared by Clements and regarded as a third chance behind Silent Is Gold and Golden Monkey in the Sprint. But the two-time winner was to meet a sad end unfortunately.

He was struggling to keep up with eventual winner Golden Monkey when he suddenly collapsed at the 200m mark, sending Nunes crashing headfirst onto the turf. 

“The horse was already beaten and it all happened in a split second. I don’t remember anything,” said Nunes.

The vet report later indicated Alqantur broke his off-fore humerus and was euthanised.