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By Graham Potter | Tuesday, January 4, 2022

A fall from the ill-fated Gold Watch on New Year’s day at Ellerslie has left Danielle Johnson with two broken bones in her lower right leg.

A runaway winner of the 2020/21 New Zealand Jockey’s Premiership, in which she rode over one hundred and fifty winners with fifteen Black Type victories, Johnson’s ride aboard Gold watch was expected to be a winning one in the Group 2 Rich Hill Mile with the Cliff Goss trained runner, who was lining up his seventh straight victory, starting at the prohibitive odds of $1.90 … but that likely scenario took a tragic twist near the 200m mark in the where Gold Watch ran out of galloping room in-between runners, stumbled and sent Johnson crashing to the turf.

Reviewing the incident later, Johnson’s thoughts were, first and foremost, with Gold Watch, who had to be humanely destroyed, and his connections.

“My heart goes out to Cliff Goss and the team that had Gold Watch. He was the first thing on my mind after I had fallen. It makes my voice tremble just talking about it,” said Johnson, speaking on SEN Track.

Moving forward though, Johnson, on a personal level, was certainly not feeling sorry for herself.

“The year has started out pretty badly but it’s only a broken leg,” said Johnson on SEN Track.

“I had my operation on Sunday morning and speaking with my doctor, he said the x-ray has come up really well and he’s happy with what he’s done.

“I’ve got a rod down my tibia and my fibula has a plate down the outside of it and a screw right through the fibula. I’ve got multiple breaks but he’s happy with the result of the operation.

“Weirdly I’m not sore anywhere else and normally after a fall your muscles are pretty sore but it’s just my leg, so I’m pretty thankful.”

“The doctor said to me I’ll be out for three to four months. I’ve got six to eight weeks without any pressure on my foot, then we’ll go from there. It’ll be rehab after that I suppose.”

Johnson’s plans for later in the year include a move to Hong Kong in support of her partner, champion trainer Jamie Richards, who will be training in Hong Kong from the start of their new season.

That timeline puts in question whether Johnson will return to the saddle in New Zealand again this year before relocating.

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