Damian Browne threw a scare into the Woorim camp ahead of his bid for successive Group One wins in the Newmarket Handicap at Flemington on Saturday when the jockey narrowly avoided serious injury at Eagle Farm.
Browne leapt to safety when the aptly-named Fun `N’ Games ran amok in the saddling enclosure before Wednesday’s Skyracing.TV Maiden Handicap (1000m).
Fun `N’ Games, who was wearing blinkers for the first time, knocked down six temporary fencing panels but luckily Browne managed to extricate himself from the saddle to avoid injury.
The son of Holy Roman Emperor was cleared to start following a veterinary inspection and went on to score by six lengths from Stolen Kisses.
In another sensation, jockey Gary Geran also escaped unharmed after being dislodged from Sir Knox on the home turn.
“After it took out two panels that was enough for me,” Browne said.
“He took out six panels and won by six panels.”
Browne has been in career-best form, claiming his fourth Group One aboard Woorim in last month’s Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield before winning the Group Three Lowland Stakes (2100m) on Planet Rock at Hastings last Saturday.
The Rob Heathcote-trained Woorim has drawn barrier two for the Group One Newmarket Handicap (1200m) while stablemate Buffering has gate eight.
Browne believed the blinkers contributed to Fun `N’ Games misbehaviour in the enclosure incident.
“He’s never had blinkers on before and when his rump hit one of the panels it set him off,” Browne said.
“It was no-one’s fault and he just frightened himself. He’s quite a hyped-up little thing.”
Trainer Desleigh Forster refused to blame maintenance work currently being undertaken by the Brisbane Racing Club for the incident.
“The maintenance work has to be done. I’m just glad he didn’t cut himself,” she said.
“He can be a lad. He would have cut himself badly if the fence was steel and I’m just glad it was plastic.”
Fun `N’ Games cost owner Doug Forbes only $4000 as a yearling at the Brisbane Bloodstock Sales.
“He’ll be a better horse once he learns to settle and I’ll work it out with his owner but he may go to the city on a Saturday now,” Forster said.
Meanwhile, trainer Joanna Methven landed her first city winner with Two Times A Lady who scored by a long head in the Patinack Farm Maiden Handicap (1500m).
Methven has only been training for a year and has a small team of five horses in work at Ballina in northern NSW.
“I used to travel horses for Graeme Rogerson and I got to know her owners when I took horses to Grafton,” Methven said.
“This mare came over from New Zealand with Shootoff who won the Queensland Derby last year.”