The fall that almost ended a Caulfield Cup dream and Single Gaze's career

It was the lowest point of Nick Olive's career. A sickening fall that left the Canberra horse trainer not only fearful for the careers of his stable star Single Gaze and top female jockey Kathy O'Hara, but their lives as well.

But in the minutes afterwards, as he found out not only had the horse come through almost unscathed, but O'Hara only had a punctured lung and broken collarbone and ribs.

Only. When you get crushed under more than 400 kilograms of horse that's a good result.

Now the pair will team up to chase one of Australia's biggest prizes - the $3 million Caulfield Cup on Saturday, part of the holy trinity of racing and a race that's never been won by a female jockey before.

Then they could take on the Melbourne Cup, when the nation stops on that first Tuesday in November.

But there was a time when it looked like it would never happen, as Single Gaze crashed on the Randwick turn in the ATC Oaks in April last year.

It came just two weeks after she'd won her first group 1 race to stamp herself as one of the best horses in Australia.

Olive can still remember his angst, followed by relief, as he now enjoys the glow of Melbourne's spring carnival.

"That was such a horrific fall to watch. Obviously when it happened the worst does go through your mind until you get up there," he said.

"You've got the horse and obviously Kathy, the way she fell people can easily get killed from falls like that. It was heart-in-the-mouth stuff until we got up there and saw the horse and saw Kathy, and saw that things were not catastrophic.

"That's probably one of the lowest points of my career so far. It was a really horrible feeling watching that."

Since then the golden haired jockey has been on board every race the chestnut mare has run and O'Hara even flew down to ride track for the Caulfield-based Single Gaze during last six weeks.

But it's not just surviving that moment the two share. They're also hard as nails.

While Olive it would be 10 months before Single Gaze raced again, O'Hara was back in the saddle after just six weeks.

"It goes hand in hand with being a jockey, falls, but it was quite a heavy fall, I don't remember much of the actual fall, but I've seen it plenty of times," O'Hara said.

"It's something that you've just got to bounce back from. I was lucky I came through it fairly unscathed so I was back in the saddle fairly quickly and I've had a bit of success since then so everything's going well."

Co-owner Martin Hall was at Randwick that day and thought Single Gaze's racing days were over.

Now he thinks that time off has been a "blessing in disguise" and helped her become the stayer she is today - a stayer that has the chance to win a Caulfield Cup, albeit as a $31 long shot.

"It's just a great story. After her fall, both herself and Kathy were both lucky just to sustain minor injuries. It was a shocking fall in the Oaks. We all thought racing days were finished that day," Hall said.

"[Single Gaze] had 10 months off and it was probably a blessing in disguise because I'm sure that time off allowed her time to develop. She basically developed from being a sprinter to a stayer.

"Hopefully Kathy does get up on the dais because she deserves it, especially to come back from the fall. The bravery she showed to return - she returned to the saddle I think it was six weeks after getting a terrible injury." ???

This story The fall that almost ended a Caulfield Cup dream and Single Gaze's career first appeared on Brisbane Times.