An Auckland harness-racing driver is in an induced coma after he crashed at Alexandra Park raceway last night.
Experienced horseman Frank Cooney suffered serious injuries after he was knocked unconscious during the first race of the night.
The Kumeu man was taken to Auckland City Hospital where he remained in a critical condition overnight.
"It was a race crash where [Cooney's] horse fell," said Kevin Smith, Alexandra Park racing manager.
"I think Frank got hit by a horse from behind him and that catapulted him into the track and basically knocked him out."
This morning, a hospital spokesman said Cooney was in a serious condition and a "diagnoses was continuing" to determine the extent of his injuries.
A close family member said although he was in an induced coma, doctors at the hospital were reasonably happy with his progress at the moment but he will be reassessed this afteroon.
Smith maintained accidents of this kind were "very infrequent" and that Cooney was an experienced harness-racing driver.
"At the end of the day it's a racing accident, these things happen and quite often drivers will be dislodged from their horse so it was just the way he hit the ground, I think," said Smith.
Smith said the accident would be "fully investigated" through a process with Harness Racing New Zealand.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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