“ONCE everyone knows you’re ok it becomes a joke.”
Able to see the funny side of the inglorious moment in the spotlight, concession reinsman Zac Chappenden is counting his lucky stars after what could have been a tragic situation.
Driving the leader – and likely winner – in the third race in Ararat yesterday, Chappenden fell out the back of the sulky 50 metres from the finish.
While rolling on the track, Chappenden was only missed by Howsweetthesound by millimetres, before avoiding a second collision with Adora Joy by inches.
Onlookers quickly realised the young driver escaped a potentially lethal accident.
Respected horseman Grant Campbell commented how “close to death” Chappenden was, with numerous viewers making similar remarks on social media.
“I thought I had the race won then the sulky broke where the seat frame is connected,” Chappenden said.
“I still had the reins and tried to get back on my feet, but we were going that fast the momentum pulled me over into the tuck and roll sequence.
“It happened that fast I didn’t really see the first horse nearly hit me, but it was the second one which scared the shit out of me, and after that, I didn’t know which way to run!
“I’ve seen the replay and had no idea how close it got to me maybe no longer being here.
“Now that it’s all over it’s a bit funny and you can laugh at it…once everyone knows you’re ok it becomes a joke and you get dubbed names like Twinkle Toes.”
Chappenden’s moment in the spotlight has rekindled memories of another famous fall as a result of a sulky malfunction.
Driving King Crimson in Kilmore on January 17, 1994, Stephen Dove was well clear of the field halfway along the home straight when his sulky extensions came lose, tipping him backward onto the track.
To this day, thanks to the a certain photo – which we are happy to reproduce – Dove long remains the ‘butt’ of racing jokes!