Michael Walker gives Mark Zahra some advice from his hospital bed

‘Don’t F up’: Walker’s hospital bed advice to Zahra

Veranskova and Mark Zahra win the VRC Season Premiere Sprint at Flemington Picture: Racing Photos via Getty Images Veranskova and Mark Zahra win the VRC Season Premiere Sprint at Flemington Picture: Racing Photos via Getty Images

Jockey Michael Walker recovered well enough from his nasty fall to offer some simple riding instructions before Veranskova’s win at Flemington.

Walker was flown to The Alfred hospital after suffering a head injury in a fall at Tuesday’s Pakenham jumpouts.

Walker was placed in an induced coma as doctors assessed his condition but the rider known as β€œThe Cuz” improved over the ensuing days.

Walker was well enough to ring Cranbourne trainer Cindy Alderson with some advice for stand-in jockey Mark Zahra on Veranskova.

“It was great to hear his voice actually,” Alderson said of Walker’s early morning call.

β€œHe actually rang me back and said ‘make sure’.

β€œHe’s done a lot of work on this mare.

“He’s tried her and it was really disappointing that he couldn’t ride her.”

Zahra produced a terrific ride to win the VRC Season Premiere Sprint (1100m) on Veranskova.

Drawing barrier two threatened to derail Veranskova’s chances in the straight-track sprint but Zahra negotiated a course to have the mare in the perfect position on the outside section of the track at the 300m.

Veranskova did the rest, racing away to score a soft win over Sixbysixtythree ($7.50) and Screwed Down ($11).

“Big shout out to the cuz,” Zahra said.

β€œI was there with him on the track on Tuesday. It was pretty bad to see.

β€œIt was good to hear he rang Cindy this morning and said it would just win and not to ‘F’ up.

“He’s back to his best.”


Jockey Jamie Mott continued his impressive start to the season when he piloted Lyrical Lad to another Flemington success.

Mott’s win on Lyrical Lad was his sixth in the first week of the 2022/23 season while he posted his fourth win on the Phillip Stokes-trained galloper in The Parade Lounge (1620m).

Punters backed Lyrical Lad from $4.40 to $3.70 before the gelding scored a decisive win over Born A King ($11).

While Lyrical Lad won well in Benchmark 84 level, Mott said the gelding could make the grade in harder races.

“When he races like he did today, when he’s on song, he can definitely get to 100 rating,” Mott said.

β€œHe still hasn’t put a foot wrong. Who knows? He could be better than that.

“Hopefully he runs in a race next time where he gets my weight range.”

Melbourne Racing

Jamie Mott combined with Lyrical Lad for another win. Picture: Vince Caligiuri-Getty Images


Craig Williams posted a double for the second straight Saturday after getting Horrifying home to his second straight win.

Williams also rode a double at The Valley last Saturday before getting the odds on favorite Berkeley Square home earlier in the Flemington meeting.

Williams got the best out of the Mark and Levi Kavanagh-trained Horrifying to win The Rose Room (2530m) narrowly over the Maher and Eustace-trained Through Irish Eyes.

Horrifying defeated Through Irish Eyes when the pair met at Flemington on July 16 before repeating the effort on Saturday.

“It is amazing what confidence does to horses, and people, but my fellow was really relishing Flemington at this part of his preparation,” Williams said.

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