Jockey's father grateful for her 'great life'

Ashlee Mundy
Ashlee Mundy
Despite tough times, Lockey Mundy has found plenty to be positive about after his daughter, jockey Ashlee Mundy, died following a race fall at Kurow in 2012.

Mr Mundy (58), who lives near Westport, was in Dunedin yesterday to attend a coroner's court hearing into her death.

He said there had also been some difficult times.

But mentally and emotionally, he was feeling ''in a good spot'' after yesterday's hearing.

His daughter, his only child, had died in a ''freak'' racing accident, which was no-one's fault, and reflected the underlying risks of the racing industry.''

She was a bubbly person. I'm so grateful for the great life that she had,'' he told the Otago Daily Times.

''I've actually had such a good relationship with Ashlee. We did heaps together.''

After a day-long hearing, Otago-Southland coroner David Crerar reserved his finding into the death of Ms Mundy (26) after her horse, Elleaye, fell suddenly, at a Kurow race meeting on December 30, 2012.

Evidence given to the hearing by police, stipendiary stewards, jockeys and other racing officials showed no person, including jockeys in the race, had been at fault or contributed to the death.

Mr Mundy said it was always hard for a parent to face the loss of a child. She had died suddenly, doing what she loved.

Two of her fellow jockeys, Toni Direen (20), and Courtney Barnes (19), yesterday gave evidence about the race.

Both gave Mr Mundy a supportive hug after the hearing.

Lockey Mundy
Lockey Mundy
Mr Mundy was also grateful for the ''huge support'' he and his family had received from police, the racing industry and other jockeys.

The latter had ''taken him under their wing'' after Ashlee's death.

His daughter had long loved horses and racing. She had been involved with horses since about the age of 5, when she had been active in the Westport Pony Club.

She had not initially envisaged a racing career, but, about the age of 17, had taken up an offer from Christchurch trainer Michael Pitman to begin an apprenticeship. Mr Mundy said he appreciated the extensive efforts by racing officials and jockeys to ensure the risks of racing were kept to an absolute minimum.

He also acknowledged the lengths to which the police and the coroner had gone to clarify what had happened in his daughter's accident.

An Ashley Mundy Memorial jockey's choice award had been established to honour his daughter's memory.

Ms Barnes, of Wingatui, had won the inaugural award, which was presented at Reefton, on the West Coast, in January. Before the accident, his daughter had been based on the Gold Coast, south of Brisbane, and had been riding in Australia.

She had returned to New Zealand to take part in some races here, including the Kurow meeting.

There had been a ''huge'' wave of support for his daughter and her family, and full funeral services had been held for her on both sides of the Tasman.

She was also an organ donor, and through her death had delivered a much better quality of life to several other people, he said.

Her lungs had gone to an 18-year-old woman who now enjoyed greatly improved lung function, and who had since written to him.

Two women in their 40s had each received a kidney, freeing them from the need for dialysis.

 

john.gibb@odt.co.nz

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