Carson injured by freak kick

Click to follow
The career of Willie Carson, one of the most successful and popular jockeys in racing history, may have reached a sudden and agonising conclusion after a freak mishap in the parade ring at Newbury yesterday afternoon. Carson was kicked in the stomach as he attempted to mount Meshhed before the third race and sustained a liver injury, which will leave him hospitalised for at least two weeks. Last night, his condition was reported to be "stable, but not critical".

Selena Drage, a racegoer who witnessed the incident, said that Carson "was just approaching the horse when she swerved round and lashed out. It was a tremendous kick and he took the full force in his stomach. She must have flung him 15 feet."

The jockey, clearly in great pain, was taken to the North Hampshire Hospital in Basingstoke. "He has sustained an isolated injury to his liver," Mervyn Rees, the hospital's consultant liver surgeon, said last night. "The capsule of the liver had internal bleeding but this stopped by itself and at this stage it is not envisaged surgery will be required. The body protector he was wearing absorbed most of the impact and prevented more serious injury. He will remain in the department for not less than two weeks."

Carson, five times the champion jockey, will be 54 in November. He has hinted that this could be his last season in the saddle, and even before yesterday's injury, it has not been a campaign which he will remember with much affection.

He has ridden just 52 winners this year, and spent almost three weeks on the sidelines after being injured in a fall at Newmarket in July. To return to race-riding after his latest accident will be a severe test, even given Carson's famous resilience and determination.

Racing, page 25