The Canberra racing community has rallied to care for Garry Kirkup’s horses after the trainer was seriously injured and his partner, track rider Samara Johnson, killed in a single car accident.
Kirkup is in an induced coma in Canberra Hospital following the accident on Sunday afternoon.
The two were travelling on the the Gundagai Road at Eurongilly in the NSW Riverina on Sunday afternoon when the car left the road, hit a tree and caught fire.
NSW Police said Johnson died at the scene and Kirkup was airlifted to hospital.
Kirkup’s son Ben told Racing NSW his father had undergone abdominal surgery on Sunday night.
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Scans on his spine and brain were clear and while he also has hand and foot injuries, his vital organs were not damaged.
He was expected to undergo further surgery on Monday but that had been delayed until possibly Tuesday.
Racing NSW Safety and Welfare officer Phillip O’Brien said the governing body was offering support to Johnson’s family and friends and those in the tight-knit Canberra racing community.
Barbara Joseph and her son and training partner, Paul Jones, paid tribute to Johnson on Facebook.
“A shining light around Thoroughbred Park, a friend to all and one of the best trackwork riders and picnic jockeys we’ve seen,” Jpseph Jones Racing posted.
“Our thoughts are with everyone who knew and loved Samara and is struggling to come to terms with this heartbreaking loss. We’re also hoping for the best for our fellow Canberra trainer Garry Kirkup who was seriously injured in the crash.”