Injured jockey showing signs of improvement

MATT MARKHAM
Last updated 05:00 17/03/2014
Ashley Frye
FAIRFAX NZ
HOSPITALISED: Jockey Ashley Frye was rushed to hospital after a fall on mount Zuleika at Ashburton left her unconscious.

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Signs of recovery from a jockey left in a coma since a fall at Ashburton are a "pretty unbelievable feeling" for family staging a bedside vigil, her partner says.

Leading apprentice Ashley Frye, 18, has been in an induced coma at Christchurch Hospital since Friday, when she was thrown from her mount, Zuleika.

Partner Matt Cropp said yesterday she was breathing on her own and her condition improving.

A broken collarbone and a fracture to a vertebrae at the top of her neck were the known extent of her injuries.

"It's certainly a lot more positive now than what it was yesterday," he said.

"She's doing better than what the nurses and doctors expected her too I think. That doesn't surprise me though, she's a tough wee girl who was only ever going to keep fighting."

Cropp, along with Frye's parents, Danny and Kay, had kept a vigil at her bedside since Friday and were yesterday rewarded for their patience.

"She opened an eye a couple of times, only for a few seconds, but it was still a positive thing to have happen," Cropp said.

"That was a pretty unbelievable feeling even though it was only for a short time before she feel back asleep."

He was unsure when Frye would wake from the coma.

"It's going to be up to her when she wakes up properly though, she's only on really low-level of drugs to keep her safe really, so we are just waiting and hoping for the best at this stage.

"The main thing is that she is improving, we might take two steps forward and then one step backwards sometimes, but we are still going forward. I know how tough she is so I know she's going to get through this all."

Frye burst onto the racing scene from relative obscurity 18 months ago and quickly created an impression, riding 41 winners in her debut season in the saddle.

With 34 wins next to her name, she is ranked 18th on the open national premiership this season.

Officials in charge of Friday's meeting have embargoed footage of the incident and will view it in the coming days.

They ordered an autopsy of Zuleika, which revealed the three-year-old filly had suffered a severely ruptured artery, which caused her to fall after racing 150 metres.

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