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The Racing Industry Has Been Left In Shock And Sadness With The Passing Of Popular Jockey Dean Holland

The Racing Industry Has Been Left In Shock And Sadness With The Passing Of Popular Jockey Dean Holland

The racing industry in Victoria and across Australia has been left in shock and sadness after popular rider Dean Holland died from injuries sustained in a fall during the opening race on the card at Donald yesterday. Holland, 34, was aboard three-year-old gelding Headingley (Caravaggio) when the horse veered left in the home straight of the 1000-metre maiden contest, crashing into the rail and causing Holland to be dislodged from the saddle. Holland was treated by paramedics on the course, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
The incident also resulted in Alana Kelly being brought down from her mount, Time To Rumble (Rich Enff), with the rider walking away from the event without serious harm. A joint statement released by Racing Victoria and the Victorian Jockeys’ Association at 4.52pm yesterday afternoon confirmed the death of the two-time Group 1-winning rider, who is survived by his wife, Lucy, and four children.
“It is with tremendous sadness that Racing Victoria (RV) and the Victorian Jockeys Association (VJA) coffrm the passing of 34-year-old jockey Dean Holland as a result of injuries sustained in a fall at Donald Racecourse today,” the statement read. “Holland was one of two riders dislodged from their horse in the opening race. He was immediately attended to by on-course paramedics, however was unable to be saved due to the nature of his injuries.
“Jockey Alana Kelly, who was the other rider to fall in the incident, was cleared of any serious injuries. Both horses, Headingley and Time To Rumble, were unharmed.” Racing at the west Victoria track was subsequently abandoned, while Racing Victoria has called ff the meetings at Flemington and Moe scheduled for today, out of respect to Holland and his family.
Holland, who made his riding debut in December 2005, rode 1,118 winners during his career, headlined by his two Group 1 successes in the 2010 Australasian Oaks (Gr 1, 2006m) aboard Small Minds (Canny Lad) – on whom he also won his first stakes race 12 days prior in the Adelaide Guineas (Listed, 1600m) – and most recently when partnering champion filly In Secret (I Am Invincible) to win the Newmarket Handicap (Gr 1, 1200m) last month.
Among the rider’s other notable successes was victory in the Geelong Cup (Gr 3, 2400m) during the 2021 spring carnival aboard Tralee Rose (Tavistock), while he twice landed his hometown Cup in Adelaide, frstly in 2015 when partnering Tanby (Galileo), and again in 2019 with Surprise Baby (Shocking). RV chief executive, Andrew Jones, said: “On behalf of the Victorian racing industry, I would like to extend our prayers and heartfelt condolences to Dean’s partner Lucy, his children, his family, friends and colleagues on the incredibly sad news of his passing.
“It was a tragic accident at Donald today and we are all deeply shocked and saddened that Dean has passed away as a result of injuries sustained in the fall. “Dean was a gifted lightweight rider who won over 1,000 races and was highly respected by his peers. He showcased his immense talent on the biggest stage last month when winning the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap at Flemington. “Dean’s passing is heartbreaking for all within Victorian racing and the sport nationally. It is a sobering reminder of the immense bravery of our riders.” Matt Hyland, Victorian Jockeys Association chief executive, said: “the VJA and our members are incredibly saddened by the loss of our colleague and friend Dean Holland and extend our heartfelt condolences to his partner Lucy, his four children and his wider family. “Dean was a much-loved member of the riding group here in Victoria and when he travelled interstate. His fellow riders will all be shattered at the shock news of his passing as we at the VJA are. “Together with Racing Victoria, the Jockey Assistance Program will be wrapping its arms around the riding group and will be working to support Lucy and the Holland family both now and importantly into the future.” Tributes from industry participants to Holland, who was the son of former jockey Darren Holland, poured in throughout yesterday evening. Tony and Calvin McEvoy, the trainers of Headingley, and who Holland rode 47 winners for, said in a post to Twitter: “the whole McEvoy Mitchell Racing team are sending our love and thoughts to Dean’s family, Lucy, their four kids, Darren and (mother) Belinda.
“Dean was a huge part of the McEvoy Mitchell Racing team and always brought a smile to everyone’s face at work. Rest easy, Deano.” Ballarat-based trainer Dan O’Sullivan, for whom Holland rode his last winner, Way Up High (Last Typhoon), at Ararat last Thursday, also released a post to Twitter, which said: “A gorgeous little boy who grew into a handsome, cheeky and successful husband and father. “Dean, your smile made us smile. “Sending all our love to our dear friends – your beautiful tight-knit family, who are living their worst nightmare, and to all of our ‘racing family’ in SA and VIC.” Fellow riders also expressed their condolences following Holland’s death. “We were saddened to hear the news of the passing of Dean Holland. Our thoughts and condolences go out to Dean’s family and friends during this difficult time,” said Craig Williams on Twitter. “He was a respected jockey and a loving father. May he rest in peace.” The Australian Jockeys Association said in a post to social media: “Today we lost a cherished member of our jockey ranks in Dean Holland. Words can never describe the loss of a young person but to all family and friends, we will send prayers and our deepest sympathies to all.”
Members of the racing industry are encouraged by Racing Victoria to utilise the free, confidential counselling service STABLELINE on 1300 530 122 if they are in need of support at this tragic time.