A Jamberoo jockey has suffered sickening injuries after he intervened in a dispute between a woman and her enraged former partner.
Peter Wells stepped in on a heated encounter on Berry’s main street in the early minutes of Sunday morning, telling the aggressor, “can’t we all just go home?”.
Tipping the scales at 53kgs, he was knocked unconscious with a single blow.
He spent the night in Shoalhaven Hospital and will require ongoing specialist treatment for a broken eye socket, a broken nose and bleeding behind his eye.
“I was a lot happier that he took his anger out on me than on anyone else there.”
Mr Wells told the Mercury he was walking a female friend home when the pair noticed a man becoming aggressive towards the woman’s friend.
“A lot of people are tall compared to me, but he was tall compared to most people,” Mr Wells said.
“I said to him, ‘you’re tired, you’ve had a little bit to drink, can we all just go home?’, and he lost the plot.
“I was the only other male there and there was no option but to step in.
“I was a lot happier that he took his anger out on me than on anyone else there. It’s not too bad; I’m used to breaking bones.”
Mr Wells rode in the Melbourne Cup in 2009. He was sidelined for four months with a broken kneecap in early 2015 but went on to win the Kembla Grange leading jockey title.
A group one-winning jockey and former Sydney apprenticeship winner, his latest injuries come amid a run of good form.
He either won or placed in half of his 218 starts last year.
Doctors have not been able to tell the 31-year-old how long it will be before he can get back in the saddle.
“They have to wait for the swelling to go down and the bleeding behind my eye to go away before they can operate,” Mr Wells said.
“I was having a good season riding-wise. But I’ll be back.
“You hear about the one-punch attacks that have been happening. I’m very, very lucky that I walked away.”
The attack occurred the same morning rising water polo star Cole Miller, 18, was killed in a one-punch attack in Brisbane.
Shoalhaven police are investigating the circumstances of the attack.
They have called on anyone with relevant information to contact Crime Stoppers (1800 333 000).
Earlier Saturday, Mr Wells rode a winner for Chris Waller at Kembla Grange. He went to Berry to attend a barbecue at the home of trainer Terry Robinson before ending the night at the pub.
Friends have taken to social media to praise the “true gentlemen” and wish him a speedy recovery.