A top jockey who died in a sickening fall during a race in the country of Victoria is remembered as a wonderful father who gave everything to provide for his growing family.
Group 1 winning jockey Dean Holland, 34, was riding Tony McEvoy gelding Headingley in the first race at Donald, 280km northwest of Melbourne, when he fell on Monday.
Holland was thrown to the turf as the three-year-old gelding moved sharply to the inside rail before falling as the field turned home at the top of the straight.
Alana Kelly and her mount Time to Rumble were then also knocked down, with the full power and weight of both horses appearing to land on Holland, who remained lying on the turf.
Both horses escaped unharmed and Kelly was able to walk away.
However, Holland was treated by medical staff during the course, before being airlifted to a hospital in Melbourne in critical condition. He died shortly after 4 p.m.
He is survived by his wife Lucy and four children under the age of five. He had three boys and a little girl who was born last year.
Group 1 winning jockey Dean Holland died in a racing incident on Sunday, leaving behind a wife and four children under five
The racing world sent messages of support to the Dutch woman Lucy (right) after his death.
Holland was airlifted to hospital in critical condition after a sickening race fall in the country of Victoria, and has tragically since passed away
After Holland’s death, the praise he gave his wife after the birth of their fourth child last June resurfaced.
“We’ve had a baby – it’s the fourth in four years, so (Lucy) has done a big job,” he told Racing.com on June 30 last year.
“We now have a little girl. We now have three boys and a girl, so family is complete.
“My wife has done a great job and she said to me ‘Go to the races today’ because if you get stuck in the hospital I’m going to break her anyway – so might as well make money.
“Mommy and bubs are happy, and I’m back to work, ready to make some money and buy some diapers.”
Holland won the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap on 11 March at Flemington. The star jockey has more than 1000 winners in his career
Jockey Alana Kelly (center, pink and blue side) was also knocked down in the fall, with Holland unseen under the first horse
The veteran jockey rode 1,080 winners (collecting $32.4 million in prize money for connections) during a stellar career, including Group 1 wins in the Newmarket Handicap in March and Australasian Oaks in Adelaide, where he cut his teeth as a rider.
Ironically, that Newmarket win over In Secret only came because superstar rider Jamie Kah was in hospital (where she is staying) with a very serious head injury – and said at the time that he didn’t want to ‘yahoo’ about the win because she had have to drive.
The meeting was quickly abandoned on Monday, with the racing world in complete shock and devastation at the tragic death of the Netherlands.
Holland, pictured at Randwick on Queen Elizabeth Stakes day earlier this month, is survived by a wife and four children
A gambler begged other racing fans to remember how dangerous the caper is.
“Many see a jockey’s life as glamorous and well paid, but while that may be true for a minority, it’s damn hard work. Early in the morning for track work, trials, having to watch your weight, riding tense thoroughbreds in races,” he wrote.
‘Dean Holland went to work this morning and he’s not going home tonight. Condolences to his family and friends. May he rest in peace.’
“Absolutely shocking news about Dean Holland. Beautiful young man. He showed his class and talent when he won the Newmarket a few weeks ago. I am so sorry for his wife and family. Thoughts and condolences to them,” wrote top racing expert Michael Felgate.
Commentator Ben Asgari said there weren’t many jockeys more beloved than the veteran.
Vale Dean Holland. So unbearably sad. There wasn’t a nicer person on the track. We must do everything we can to help his young family. Love to Dean’s friends and family, thinking of you all,’ he said.
Trainer Peter Moody himself wrote a tribute: ‘Valley Dean Holland. Thoughts and prayers for Lucy and his beautiful young family. Way too soon, RIP young man.’
Expert Samuel Hyland also spoke of his grief that the popular jockey had passed away.
What sad news to hear that Dean Holland is deceased. Deano was a fantastic jockey, hard worker and such a great guy. My condolences to his lovely family, it’s just so sad,” he said.
The police prepare a report for the coroner and Worksafe investigates.
One gambler called it the “most sickening crash I’ve seen”, while another wrote it was “so sad to see this happen far too often” – after a spate of very serious race crashes that also saw superstar drivers Jamie Kah and Craig Williams were involved as top hoops Ethan Brown and Teo Nugent in recent months.
It started with Ethan Brown suffering internal injuries after a fall in the Group 1 Australian Guineas at Flemington on March 4, before Kah and Craig Williams were rushed to hospital after a horrific fall in the Sires Produce Stakes on March 12.
Kah’s head injury was so severe (although she is free of brain haemorrhages and fractures, she remains hospitalized) partner Ben Melham said she had to be “severely sedated to rest her brain” after the accident.
Holland’s sickening fall comes after a spate of serious incidents of late, with superstar hoopla Jamie Kah suffering a significant head injury after a fall on March 12
Williams’ list of injuries was also significant, with a broken collarbone, broken ribs, broken finger and concussion as a result of the fall.
Just a week later, Teo Nugent was left with a fractured C1 vertebra and his mount Florescent Star had to be euthanized after being involved in a nasty fall on All Star Mile day in Mooney Valley.
There’s a reason why many call it the most dangerous occupation in Australia.
Vale, Dean of Holland.