Jockey Samara Johnson has been farewelled amid a sea of purple at Young.
Hundreds of mourners dressed in jeans, boots and a touch of Samara’s favourite colour turned out to celebrate a life that was cut tragically short in a car accident on December 3rd.
The service was conducted on the main straight of the Toompang Racecourse at Young, which was where Samara notched her last victory in the saddle. She saluted aboard Liabilityadjuster for trainer Doug Gorrel in the Burrangong Picnic Cup on October 7.
Doug was among many mourners who spoke at the service which was conducted by Canberra racing pastor, Bob Prior.
Tributes were also given by Samara's fellow riders Chynna Marston, Kalina Bone and Billy Owen, as well as various members of the Johnson family.
Samara's partner Garry Kirkup remains in hospital and was unable to attend, however his heartbreaking tribute was delivered by his sister.
As a final tribute, Samara was given a guard of honour by her fellow jockeys and trackriders as she was carried across the finish line one last time.
Since Samara’s passing her memory has been honoured in multiple ways, testament to her immense popularity in the industry.
The Canberra racing community banded together to help get Garry and Samara’s horse, Highly Geared, to the races at Rosehill Gardens. Jockey Rachel Hunt rode Highly Geared in breeches bearing Samara’s name, and also wore a purple helmet.
Jockeys all over NSW have been racing in black armbands, female jockeys have been wearing purple ribbons on their helmets and some trainers have even tied purple bows in their horses’ manes.
A minute silence was observed at last Sunday’s Thoroughbred Park meeting before the Samara Johnson Memorial Plate and Narromine Turf Club also ran a race in Samara’s honour.
The 2016 Macquarie Picnic Races at Trangie was the scene of the most successful day of Samara’s riding career. She booted home four winners including Dalhero in the Macquarie Picnic Cup – a record unmatched by any jockey in the history of the race day.
The Club has dedicated this year’s Macquarie Picnic Races to Samara, naming the feature race after her. Racegoers will be given purple wristbands on entry, a minute silence will be held during the day and jockeys will be brought together to release purple balloons.