Triumph turns to tragedy for Barry Gill
WITHIN the space of three hours Gympie trainer Barry Gill felt the exhilaration of victory and went through the nightmare of reliving the worst days of his life during the Catholic Schools Race Day at Thabeban Park.
Gill won took out the first race when Cursu took out won the Class B (1380m) and was rapt with the win.
But it was downhill from there.
After losing his wife, Desiree, on November 10 from injuries sustained in a race fall at Caloundra, Gill's heart sank when he saw Sufferin Succotash lying on the track and its jockey, Kane St Vincent.
The five-year-old gelding broke a fetlock and fell near the 400m in the Benchmark 55 (1090m).
Not having his binoculars meant Gill couldn't tell whether St Vincent was badly injured as he laid motionless on the track.
Gill's mind was racing with terrible memories as he sprinted up the straight to get to the horse and rider.
St Vincent suffered a corked thigh. Sufferin Succotash had to be euthanised.
Despite the trauma Gill said there was no thought of quitting.
He will carry out some plans he and Desiree put in place before she died.
"Des and I always talked about it - Des said if she went I had to keep going," he said.
Gill's relief that St Vincent came out of the fall without severe injury was evident as when he spoke.
But the veteran trainer has lost one of his favourite horses.
The Gills bred Sufferin Succotash and he said explained why he would was going to miss the stable star.
"He was my mate," he said.
The death of Sufferin Succotash rocked Gill. He said it was the worst race injury he had seen. But even though he is in the middle of one of the toughest times of his life Gill was able to draw something positive from the circumstances.
He said the help he got from two Bundaberg trainers proved there was good to be found, even in the toughest circumstances.
"The support of Tony Hess and Gary Clem was great - Tony is just a gentleman - because they helped me get the horse off the track and out of the public's eye," Gill said.
"It makes you feel good about people; you know people don't just think about themselves."
Gill's strength to keep going hasn't failed him and with the support of members of the racing community he will continue and keep his promise to Desiree.