R.I.P. Carly-Mae Pye

The name Carly Mae-Pye became familiar precisely because it was not.

In one of many casual roles I answer calls where trainers often ask to “put on a rider”. On my first morning the request – probably from her partner Tim Cook – was for the (to me) utterly obscure Qld hoop …trying to type in a surname Magpie! Eventually sorted, it was a catalyst to peruse the racebook for the hoops who cop our wrath and our wraps right across the country.

Carly-Mae Pye died this week after a fall at trackwork in Rockhampton. She was 26. She leaves behind a shattered partner and disbelieving colleagues who continue to run the risk every day – not, in most cases, for great wealth, but because they love horses, “the game” and it is “what they do”.

Just now (Wednesday evening) a mate has sent me an alert about M.Walker’s loss on the last fav at Caulfield. It does appear, on video review, that he’s dropped his hands inopportunely. Which he should not. And he must cop the rebuke from the stewards and, naturally, punters. But, guess what – it happens; and if you can’t fathom that, don’t punt.

The Caulfield alert reminded me of earlier and forgotten Murray Bridge mail. A search there revealed more distress after a horror fall on their Cup Day has Caitlin Forrest in a bad way and Libby Hopwood amongst others injured. My heart aches for those involved. Mention the Bridge’s Cup Day and I’m transported to Uni years, sunshine, big crowds and carefree times.

The eventual decision to continue the meeting was, I hope, made in the best interests.

We await news of their welfare and perhaps take a moment, pre-Cups euphoria, to take a “perspective pill”.

It is a bloody tough game. Horse people love their industry and know the risks.

Racing is a wonderful sport and we are approaching the biggest month of the year.

The winners will be feted. Let’s hope the others are not forgotten

Saturday’s preview can wait until tomorrow (Thursday)


  1. I interviewed Glen Prentice last night. He’s the president of the Queensland Jockey Association. He said Carly’s death is a tragic reminder of how dangerous horse racing is.
    He said the racing community is devastated.
    Prentice was shattered.

  2. cowshedend says

    Extremely sad week. Caitlin Forrest passed away last night after that horrific fall at Murray Bridge.
    She was not only a fine hoop but also drove in 2 interdoms, her dad was a fine reinsman and her Grandfather a trots legend in SA.
    Sadly,the risk to the unrewarded provincial hoops is manifestly greater due to the quality of track surfaces (race day, but moreso training tracks) and the quality of the horses involved.
    Vale Carly & Caitlin

  3. Yes, i heard the sad news this morning that Caitlyn had died after her fall. How horrible. We must never forget the risks hoops take. What other job does an ambulance follow you around every time you’re working ?

    As well as the death toll, the serious ,permanent injuries are another sad reminder of the risks taken by hoops every time they saddle up. When i was younger i recall the fall of Ricky Thurgood, of course there have been countless others suffer serious injuries throughout the years, with one of my favourites, Peter Robl, now being in the insidius position of if he rides again, and experiences a fall he is likely to be a paraplegic. What an option , stick to a job you love, with the risk of serious injury, or turn away to find a new careeer. Not easy.

    Vale Carly and Caitlin.


  4. Rails are safer, vests are stronger, tracks are generally better, Stewards are more aware…but the horses outweigh a human many times over and thus horrible accidents will occur.
    Chad Schofield might think again before appealing.

    Cowshedend, I was unaware that Caitlin was from the trots lineage – reckon I recall her father from old times.
    Des O’Keefe will continue his good fight to help where he can.

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