The Victorian Jockey's Association has confirmed the news that police have found the body of missing jockey Chris Caserta.
The 26-year-old was last seen when he went for a late-night swim with a friend on the Gold Coast on Wednesday night.
The pair were caught in a rip which Caserta was unable to escape, his friend made it back to shore.
Our thoughts are with Chris Caserta’s family and friends 🖤 pic.twitter.com/EYXxqFMUOS
— 7HorseRacing 🐎 (@7horseracing) December 2, 2021
Come Thursday, Queensland Police had confirmed they had changed their efforts from a search to recovery before locating Caserta's body on Friday.
The VJA released a statement confirming the news.
"The Victorian Jockeys' Association is heartbroken by the news of Chris Caserta's sudden passing," VJA CEO Matt Hyland said.
Kyneton, 23 March 2014.
— Racing.com (@Racing) December 2, 2021
"Chris was a popular member of Victoria's riding ranks and will always be remembered for the big smile he always had on his face.
"While Chris rode in numerous states, he started his apprenticeship in Victoria. He always showed natural talent as not only a jockey, but as an athlete and sportsperson.
"Chris is from a wonderful family. Our hearts go out to them, Chris' friends and everyone else that was touched by him.
Our thoughts go out to the Caserta family and those who were close to Chris. The news of his death is absolutely gutting.
Chris spent a part of his apprenticeship with Tony and was an excellent jockey and a fantastic character to have around.
Pictured here with Vinland. RIP pic.twitter.com/52yFAAt7Rh
— mcevoymitchell (@mcevoymitchell) December 2, 2021
"The racing industry will wrap their arms around Chris' family and give them all the support that is needed. Our hearts and thoughts go out to them in such a tragic time."
Father-in-law and trainer Steve Wise paid tribute to the young hoop.
"Chris was more than a great jockey to me, as he was also my son-in-law and an all-round great guy," Wise said.
We are truly devastated to hear the news of the sudden passing of jockey Chris Caserta. Our thoughts are with Chris’s family, friends, and work colleagues. Heaven gained another angel, and one more star will rise in the sky tonight ✨ pic.twitter.com/qAZQzYOhMV
— NationalJockeysTrust (@JockeysTrust) December 2, 2021
"To Chris, family was everything.
"He was so excited this week, as he had just become an uncle for the first time with his brother having a beautiful baby, and he was so proud. I feel so much for his parents and siblings at this time.
"He has left a hole that will never be filled."