Jockey Courtney Barnes wears a black armband in honour of
Ashlee Mundy at the Waikouaiti races yesterday. Photo by
The jockeys' rooms at Waikouaiti were missing a smiling
face yesterday. Rider Ashlee Mundy (26) died in Dunedin
Hospital on Monday after a race fall at Kurow on Sunday, and
the mood was sombre as the Waikouaiti Racing Club held a
minute's silence before the first race of its annual meeting
Jockeys at the three thoroughbred meetings nationwide wore
black armbands as a mark of respect. Among those mourning Ms
Mundy at Waikouaiti yesterday was veteran jockey Terry
Moseley, who remembered a conversation with her shortly after
they met in 2004, when he discovered her home town of
Westport was where his father grew up.
''We started talking then. The old [West] Coast families,
they're pretty parochial about the Coast, aren't they?'' Mr
The pair often travelled together to race meetings.
''She was a capable rider and a pretty, vivacious young
lady,'' Mr Moseley said.
''She had a lovely personality and was a nice person with
While Ms Mundy was known for her friendliness and positivity,
Mr Moseley said she knew how to focus once a race began.
''She had her competitive side, don't worry about that. She
wouldn't take a backward step, either. She would hold her own
Yaldhurst trainer Michael Pitman, to whom Ms Mundy was
apprenticed from March 2004, also recalled her positive
nature. Ms Mundy lived with the Pitmans for two years before
her parents suggested she buy a flat.
''It was the best thing ever, as she channelled all her
energies into paying her flat off,'' Mr Pitman said.
After winning a race at her first attempt, on Starkay at
Oamaru in August 2004, Ms Mundy went through a quiet patch.
''She never rode another winner for 14 months and 80-odd
''I thought she was a really good rider then, but it took a
long time for the penny to drop.''
Then there was no stopping her.
''She rode 100 winners as an apprentice, unbelievable for a
female jockey in the South Island,'' Mr Pitman said.
''She was a good kid - terrific work ethic - and she was a
very good sportsperson. Before she came to me, she was a very
good swimmer, and very dedicated.''
New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing chief executive Greg Purcell
said the industry was in shock over Ms Mundy's death.
''All our thoughts are with Ashlee's family at this terrible
time. This is a very sad day for them and for the wider
racing community in New Zealand.''
Ms Mundy rode 232 winners, including four prestige races. She
had been riding in Queensland for the past few years where
she had another 43 winners.
Ms Mundy had been working at Lisa and Kenny Rae's
Christchurch stable during her holiday, and planned to return
to Australia in February, AAP reported.
''She'd rock up every morning ready to ride. She was just one
of those people who have a natural way with animals,'' Lisa
Rae said. ''Our owners are broken; they're distraught. Ashlee
was just lovely.''
Nigel McIntyre, of the New Zealand Racing Integrity Unit,
said the RIU was investigating the race fall at Kurow in
conjunction with the police, who will prepare their own
Riding deaths at New Zealand race meetings were rare, he
said. The previous jockey to be killed was Sam McRae (16), at
Riverton in 2005.
Ms Mundy's funeral will be held at Westport on Friday.