One of the country's most experienced harness racing drivers is in an induced coma after a horrifying crash at an Auckland race.
Frank Cooney, 62, was racing at Auckland's Alexandra Park, when he was pitched out of his cart, hit from behind and knocked unconscious.
The race carried on with Cooney, who has been driving for more than 40 years, left lying stricken on the track.
Stipendary Steward at Alexandra Park John Muirhead said it was difficult to watch.
"I instantly knew it wasn't good. We activated a warning siren and our safety crew came in and started to attend to the matter as well as the ambulance," he said.
Cooney, an Alexandra Park regular, is greatly respected in the industry, and was enjoying his most successful driving patch in almost 20 years.
The race park's chief exective Graeme Running said accidents like this are rare.
Running said the tight knit harness racing community is now coming together to support Cooney and his family.
"What ends up happening in this situation is they pull together, they look after each other and everybody will be wanting to know how Frank is," Running said.
The cause of the accident is now being fully investigated.
"With competitive racing, things happen. The horses can react not the right way and sometimes people make mistakes," Muirhead said.
"Our role is to ensure we follow that through to determine which one it was."
Cooney remains in an induced coma at Auckland City Hospital.
His family say he is in a stable condition.