It is with tremendous sadness that Racing Victoria (RV) and the Victorian Jockeys Association (VJA) confirm the passing of 34-year-old jockey Dean Holland as a result of injuries sustained in a fall at Donald Racecourse today.
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.
The race meeting was abandoned following the incident by order of RV Stewards who have also adjourned an inquiry into the incident to a date to be fixed.
WorkSafe, with the cooperation of RV and the Donald Racing Club (DRC), will investigate the circumstances of the racing accident and Victoria Police will prepare a report for the coroner.
Holland commenced race riding in his native South Australia in December 2005 and piloted his first winner at Ceduna on 14 January 2006.
He went on to ride more than 1075 career winners with those victories predominantly coming in Victoria and South Australia, along with the Northern Territory and Tasmania. His last visit to the winner’s circle was at Ararat last Thursday, 20 April.
Holland won his first Group 1 race in the 2010 Schweppes Oaks (2000m) at Morphettville aboard Small Minds, before claiming his second aboard In Secret in the Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington last month when a late substitution on raceday.
Among his other feature wins were the 2015 and 2019 Adelaide Cups aboard Tanby and Surprise Baby respectively, 2015 Mornington Cup (Banco Mo), 2021 Geelong Cup (Tralee Rose) and 2022 Wodonga Cup (Night Passage). He was also victorious in the Casterton, Devonport, Dunkeld, Hamilton, Horsham and Warracknabeal Cups.
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 are 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 1000 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.”
Victorian Jockeys Association (VJA) Chief Executive, Matt Hyland, 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, and 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.”
RV and the VJA are working together to support the Holland family, the racing community and industry employees with counselling and support.
Members of the racing industry are encouraged to utilise the free, confidential counselling service STABLELINE on 1300 530 122 if they are in need of support at this tragic time.
RV, following consultation with the VJA, has determined that tomorrow’s ANZAC Day race meetings at Flemington and Moe will not proceed as programmed out of respect to Dean and the Holland family. A further update on the re-programming of any races will follow in due course.