Harness driver walks from spectacular crash
Harness racing driver John Dunn started to worry he could be in trouble when his cart catapulted him high into the air during a spectacular crash on the West Coast.
Remarkably, Dunn was able to stand up and walk away moments after landing on his back in the three horse pile-up at the Westport Trotting Club meeting on Friday.
Going into the first bend on the sixth race of the day horse Glencarrigh, driven by Sam Ottley, fell. The two following horses - Can He Pay, driven by Murray Pash, and Benio Billie, driven by Dunn - were then caught up in the trouble.
Dunn said he initially thought he would land on his feet.
"Then when the shaft of the cart dug into the ground, that's when it sort of slingshotted me higher in the air," he said.
"Once I've just left the seat, it's slingshotted, that's what's got me the air, that's why I've gone so high."
Many people had commented on the height he reached, Dunn said, although it had felt higher than the footage showed it to have been.
It was the most spectacular crash he had been involved in.
He had thought about how he would land, "but I sort of lost all direction because I was up there doing a spin".
"Once I went on my side then my back [in the air] I knew I was going to be in for a bad landing," Dunn said.
He came down on his back, but was able to get up straightaway.
"You always worry about the horses, the ones that were in the fall, getting up and running over the top of you," he said.
During his time in the air he had "not really" thought about much.
"It happens that quick."
He was still feeling "very sore" today, but said it could have been much worse.
"I'm actually pretty lucky I haven't got any broken bones," he said.
"I got straight back out there the next race."
Horse Benio Billie, from the Robert Dunn Harness Racing stable at Woodend north of Christchurch, was "overall a bit like me, a bit battered and bruised but otherwise fine".
The steward's report on the race said Pash had been taken to hospital for observation after the crash, while Ottley had been stood down from her remaining drives on the day.
All three horses were cleared of serious injuries.