Trainer Garry Kirkup is in an induced coma in Canberra Hospital following a single car accident in which his partner, track rider and picnic jockey Samara Johnson, was killed.
The two were travelling on the the Gundagai Road at Eurongilly in the NSW Riverina on Sunday afternoon when the car left the road, hit a tree and caught fire.
Kirkup's son Ben told Racing NSW his father had undergone abdominal surgery on Sunday night and was due to have another operation on Monday.
Racing community mourns the loss of Samara Johnson. The 25 year old was killed in a car crash near Junee yesterday. Her partner and trainer, Garry Kirkup remains in hospital in a critical condition. @9NewsRiverina pic.twitter.com/lfVbUaNpUw— Mimi Becker (@MimiRoseBecker) December 4, 2017
Scans on his spine and brain were clear and while he also has hand and foot injuries, his vital organs were not damaged.
NSW Police said Johnson, who was a passenger in the front seat, died at the scene.
The horse racing community has reacted with shock and sadness at the tragic news.
Just heard the news of young Samara Johnson from Canberra thoughts are with her friends and family RIP. 🙏🙏— Adrian Layt 🏇 (@adrianlayt) December 3, 2017
From the entire team @PatriotsRacing we extend our heartfelt condolences, prayers & support as we are saddened to hear of the tragic passing of Samara Johnson who was involved in a car accident yesterday. Best wishes & strong healing thoughts are also with trainer Gary Kirkup. pic.twitter.com/FkntoacGUQ— Patriots Bloodstock (@PatriotsRacing) December 3, 2017
Incredibly sad time with the passing of Samara Johnson. We are here to support Samara's family, friends and the Canberra racing fraternity during this difficult time. Hoping for a speedy recovery for Gary Kirkup.— Phillip O'Brien (@pobracing) December 4, 2017
Tragic news 😢 RIP Samara Johnson ❤️— Dimity Maher (@DimityMaher) December 3, 2017
The tragedy comes nine months after fellow Canberra track work rider Riharna Thomson died working at Thoroughbred Park.
Canberra Racing boss Peter Stubbs said the industry was doing it tough after a terrible year.
"It's been a tragic year for the club, Riharna and Samara were close friends and have mutual friends who still work in the industry, we're all devastated, it's been a really tough year," Mr Stubbs said.
"Samara was licensed as an approved rider who rode at picnic races and was highly successful at the picnics in this region and rode track work at Thoroughbred Park six days a week.
Talented young jockey Samara Johnson has been confirmed as the victim of a fatal crash near Junee.— 2GB 873 (@2GB873) December 4, 2017
Her partner and trainer Garry Kirkup is in a critical condition.
Image: @DailyAdvertiser pic.twitter.com/9SBHeLshBk
"She rode for Garry and freelanced for a number of different trainers on course, we're providing counselling support through our racing chaplain Bob Prior, while the other trainers have rallied to look after Garry's horses, he has about a dozen in his stables."