Prominent Darwin trainer and jockey in the wars

Phil Cole
Trainer Phil Cole and veteran jockey Wayne Davis, who are both recovering from serious injury, celebrating success during a Darwin race meeting at Fannie Bay. Picture: Caroline Camilleri (Fotofinish Racepix)

Every chance trainer Phil Cole and stable rider Wayne Davis will be watching the Darwin races on TV from home on Saturday.

The pair are recovering from serious injuries sustained this past week.

Cole was in the process of repairing an airbag in his truck when it exploded into his chest at full force, resulting in six broken ribs.

A few years ago, Cole escaped serious injury after a horse transporter carrying 10 horses flipped 110km south of Marla near the NT-SA border.

He also broke his pelvis in three places in a track work accident at Alice Springs.

Last Saturday, Davis came to grief when he was thrown from a horse during track work.

It was his third serious accident at Fannie Bay after being part of a three-horse fall during the 2021 Darwin Cup Carnival and when he was dislodged during track work in late 2022 when a plover struck his horse.

“It was around 6am, I was about to put my horse through his paces when he started buck jumping,” Davis said.

“The bucking became more severe, then he did a right hand turn on me.

“All of a sudden, I was catapulted into the air before landing awkwardly on the flat of my back.

“I thought I was in trouble and from the initial shock of the impact I thought I had broken my spine.

“I had never experienced so much pain in 37 years of riding.”

Davis remained motionless until an ambulance arrived to transport him to Royal Darwin Hospital.

The 53-year-old suffered five fractured ribs and spinal damage to his T11 vertebrae.

He avoided surgery, but he won’t be back riding for at least six months.

After six days in hospital, Davis is now recuperating at home.

“It’s going to be a long road back as far as my recovery is concerned,” he said.

“There will be physio, as well as acqa-therapy as I strive to regain my fitness.

“This is my worst career injury, but I am in a good head space because I consider myself to be very lucky.

“It could have been a hell of lot worse when you’re dealing with the spine.

“Although I’ll miss the Darwin Cup Carnival this year, the aim is to look after myself and eventually support the Cole stable any way I can.”

Davis wasn’t sure if Cole would be at Fannie Bay on Saturday to attend to the 10 horses that will represent the stable on the five-event program.

“I wish Phil a speedy recovery, I’ll try and visit him on Friday,” he said.

“I’m sure his wife Rhonda and long-serving stable-hand Tanya Reichstein will do a good job at the races if Phil stays at home.”

The Cole stable have decent chances on Saturday with Soul Spirit (Race 1), Awen (Race 2), Star Magnum (Race 3), Miami Vice (Race 4) and Exceedingly Magic (Race 5) bound to be competitive.

Cole was unavailable for comment, while Davis joins fellow Top End jockeys Paul Shiers and Adam Nicholls on the sideline with long term injury.

Davis had a stint in Geraldton from October-January before returning to the Top End.

Horse racing news

Related posts