Jockey Samara Johnson passes away while Gary Kirkup remains in in hospital following single-vehicle crash

REMEMBERED: The racing industry is in mourning following the passing of jockey Samara Johnson on Sunday. Photo: ELESA KURTZ
REMEMBERED: The racing industry is in mourning following the passing of jockey Samara Johnson on Sunday. Photo: ELESA KURTZ

The NSW country racing community as well as those in Canberra have been left in mourning following the passing of picnic rider Samara Johnson on Sunday.

Johnson, 25, died at the scene of a single-vehicle crash near Junee.

NSW Police confirmed in a release the crash happened on Gundagai Road at Eurongilly, 21km south-east of Junee, just before 2:30pm.

It is understood the car left the road and smashed head-on into a tree before bursting into flames.

Johnson’s partner, licensed racehorse trainer Gary Kirkup, was critically injured in the accident and was airlifted to Canberra Hospital where he still remains with severe abdominal injuries.

The passing of Johnson is another tragic blow for the Canberra racing community, following the passing of track rider Riharna Thomson, also a close friend of Johnson’s, earlier in the year.

Johnson’s final ride in the saddle was in front of a bumper crowd at the recent Bong Bong Picnics while the young jockey’s last victory came at Young on October 7, a meeting in which she scored a winning double.

In September’s Picnic Championship Final at Dubbo Turf Club, Johnson finished fifth on Track Flash in front of another huge crowd.

Counselling support has been arranged by Racing NSW to help assist participants during this time.

Canberra-based racing chaplain, Bob Prior, visited the Canberra Race Club on Monday morning.

Grieving friends of Johnson can contact Racing NSW counsellor, David Goldman, on 1300 88 7724.