How trainer’s life was saved in heart attack scare

Source: Racenet, by Ben Dorries

Chris Waller’s Queensland foreman has witnessed some of racing’s biggest moments but there may be none more special or significant than the lifesaving minutes after trainer Gary “Jack” Duncan suffered a heart attack at Doomben.

As one of Duncan’s quick-thinking owners started performing CPR on the fallen trainer in the Doomben tie-up stalls after the first race last Saturday, Brett “Lofty” Killion also charged into action.

Fortuitously, Duncan’s owner had recently done a refresher CPR course and was a driving force in bringing Duncan back to life before the on-course paramedics arrived.

Killion, who has previously worked for Godolphin and some of Australia’s finest trainers including Gai Waterhouse, was also Johnny-on-the-spot.

He too had done a recent first-aid course and knew what he must do.

“I was sitting in a public area near the tie-up stalls, chatting away with Chris Munce, and I heard a commotion and someone yell out ‘medic’,” Killion said.

“I am fresh off doing a first-aid course through work, someone was already doing CPR and pressing on his chest, and I knew straight away we needed a defibrillator.

“Instinctively I ran towards the jockeys’ room and luckily they had one on hand, it was handed to me straight away and I ran back and I was peeling the tags off about to put it on and then ambos pulled up and took over.

“I was about 20 seconds off sticking the patches onto his chest, then the ambos took over with it.

“What I’d really like to highlight is the importance of employers having staff do first aid courses.

“It was only because I did one a month ago that I was triggered straight away, probably if I hadn’t done that course then I wouldn’t have thought like that.

“Every second is crucial in a situation like that.”

Sunshine Coast trainer Duncan was successfully revived and left Doomben conscious in an ambulance, having heart surgery in hospital later on Saturday.

Australian Trainers’ Association (Qld) boss Cameron Partington reports Duncan is recovering well and in good spirits.

He is nursing broken ribs from the CPR and expects to be in hospital for the rest of the week and then have a month-long recuperation period.

Father-of-three Killion has had plenty of highlights in racing, notably when he helped guide Godolphin’s Group 1 winner Impending through some difficult days before claiming the 2017 Stradbroke Handicap.

But having a successful outcome amid desperately worrying scenes on Saturday must take the cake.

“It was so confronting – it was really touch and go there for a while,” Killion said.

“I am so glad to hear he is all right, the fact that he was sitting up and talking when he left the course was amazing and a great sign.

“Everyone involved did such an amazing job.”