By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
Itsthefinalcountdown’s win at Cambridge Raceway on Thursday night couldn’t have come at a better time for part-owner and trainer Jo Stevens after the fortnight that she has had.
The Cambridge horsewoman fell from her showjumper a fortnight ago and has since been in hospital, undergoing surgery on her face and also being monitored after suffering a serious head injury in the fall.
Stevens can’t recall anything of the incident but is thankful that it wasn’t worse.
“I have been in hospital for the last 10 days and I have just been transferred to the brain injury rehabilitation clinic,” Stevens said.
“I was riding my showjumper and we both went down. I don’t really know how, but both of us hit the ground and apparently I was knocked out for quite some time until the ambulance arrived.
“I have had to have surgery on my face. It is not the greatest situation to be in, but I am counting my lucky stars that I am still here.”
Stevens said she has been inundated with well-wishes from the harness racing community following the incident.
“I feel really loved, everybody has been so amazing. I have had so many messages during the week,” she said.
While it has been a tough few weeks for Stevens, she said her spirits were lifted watching Itsthefinalcountdown storm home late down the passing lane to win the Last Chance To Purchase Jewels Merch Mobile Pace (2200m).
“That was cool,” she said. “I actually had a nurse in my room at the time, but I was able to watch him come up the straight, that was pretty exciting.
“He has been racing well, particularly in his last couple of starts. He is no superstar, he is the GP (galloping pacemaker) at home, and he is great for that.
“He put in a couple of honest runs and didn’t have much luck, I just thought he needed a bit of luck to get a cheque, but to win really exceeded our expectations.”
Later on the card Stevens was delighted to see her partner Dylan Ferguson win behind She Reigns in the Dunstan Horse Feeds Handicap Trot (2700m), securing the Dunstan Cambridge Horse of the Year title with the mare.
“Dylan has stayed in hospital every night on the La-Z-Boy chair. He has been a huge support and I was so proud of him to win that. It has been his goal to win the Cambridge Horse of the Year,” Stevens said.
“He was worried about the 50m handicap tonight, but she is something else. She rounds them up and puts them away like they are tied to the fence. That is something special.”
While in hospital, Stevens said Ferguson’s family have been a wonderful support, particularly with helping take care of their daughter.
“I am really missing my daughter,” Stevens said. “Dylan’s parents and my sister-in-law have been fantastic. My mum was booked to come over from Australia, but of course they locked down, so she was unable to come.
“Peter and Dylan have both been good in working the team, and Bailey Rogerson has been a big help with riding Griffins Hall. I do a bit of ridden work with him and I am the only rider in the family.
“They have been keeping me updated and I have been driving them nuts from the hospital bed, but they have been really good.”
A frequent face around Alexandra Park and Cambridge Raceway doing post-race interviews for their social media channels, Stevens has appreciated the assistance of good friend Luke Whittaker in her absence.
“Luke has been really good, he has been sending me some videos to post on my Track Chat platform,” Stevens said.
“They haven’t missed out on too much, he has filled the gap for me, so I hope I have a job to go back to.”