Amateur rider dies after fall injuries

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The Independent Online

Trevor Radford, one of the oldest jockeys to have ridden in Britain, died in a Guildford hospital yesterday, two months after he suffered serious injuries in a fall in an amateurs' race at Goodwood. Radford, 64, who had retired from his job as a motor mechanic two weeks before his accident, had been intending to retire from the saddle after the Goodwood event.

Trevor Radford, one of the oldest jockeys to have ridden in Britain, died in a Guildford hospital yesterday, two months after he suffered serious injuries in a fall in an amateurs' race at Goodwood. Radford, 64, who had retired from his job as a motor mechanic two weeks before his accident, had been intending to retire from the saddle after the Goodwood event.

Radford was thrown to the ground when his mount, Landican Lane, owned by his wife Janet, was hampered on the bend five furlongs from home in the race on 26 August. Though he had ridden regularly in Arab races in the 1990s, he returned to riding thoroughbreds under Rules less than a year ago, after a break of almost 50 years. Prior to his final race, he had six rides, all on Landican Lane, and finished unplaced on each occasion.

"It is very sad," Lord Oaksey, the chairman of the Injured Jockeys' Fund, said yesterday. "He had seemed to be on the way back, so to speak. He wasn't talking but he had communicated with his family and they were pretty hopeful, but he died at six o'clock on Sunday morning. It is obviously a terrible blow."

Radford is the first rider to die as the result of a fall on a British track since Richard Davis suffered fatal injuries at Southwell in 1996, and the first Flat jockey since Steve Wood, who was trampled after being unseated at Lingfield in 1994.

Radford is not the oldest rider to have taken part in a horse race. Harry Beasley was 83 when he rode in his last race in 1935, while Victor Morley Lawson rode his first winner at Kempton in 1973 at the age of 67. Earlier this season, Pal Kallai, 67, contested a Group Three event at Baden-Baden, while Lester Piggott, now 65, is due to return to the saddle for the Emirates Airlines Legends race at Flemington Park, in Australia, a week on Saturday.

However, in the aftermath of his serious fall, the combination of Radford's age and relative inexperience led some to question whether he should have been riding in a competitive event. At the time, both John Maxse, the Jockey Club's spokesman, and Dr Michael Turner, the Club's chief medical officer, emphasised that Radford's age had nothing to do with his injury, a subdural brain haemorrhage. "Injuries of this type can occur in all age groups, it could happen to a 20-year-old," Dr Turner said. "There is nothing that we are the least bit concerned about regarding his fitness to hold the licence and ride."

Their views were echoed by Buck Jones, the trainer of Landican Lane. "Trevor's a very fit man," he said after the accident. "It was his ambition to ride on the racecourse, that's why he bought this horse. Trevor came in three days a week to muck out and ride out before going to work. They put him through the hoop when he got his licence. He was perfectly capable of doing a job, and he had several rides on that horse."

Radford's death is the latest reminder that every jockey is one misplaced stride away from possible disaster. Riding horses at speed, particularly over fences, is inherently dangerous, but misfortune can still strike anywhere, and at any moment. Just three days ago, Paul Carberry, one of National Hunt's finest jockeys, was thrown from his mount Harbour Pilot before they had even reached the first flight in a hurdle race at Fairyhouse. Yesterday it emerged that he will be out of action for a minimum of three months.

The accident occurred on Carberry's first day back in the saddle after a five-week layoff with ligament problems. "He broke his leg below the knee," Noel Meade, Harbour Pilot's trainer, said yesterday, "and he has had an operation to insert a pin or a rod in. It is a very clean break and the operation has been a success. They didn't say how long he will be out but it will be a minimum of three months. He's having a rough time."

Meade said that he will use "the best rider available" during his stable-jockey's absence, while Willie Mullins is also searching for a partner for Florida Pearl, who is due to return to action in a valuable race at Down Royal a week on Saturday.

Laffit Pincay became the first jockey to win 9,000 races, when he partnered Chichim to victory at Santa Anita on Saturday. Pincay, 53, completed a five-timer at the meeting, becoming the first jockey in the track's history to win five stakes races on the same day. Pincay became the world's most successful jockey when he broke Bill Shoemaker's record of 8,833 winners last December.

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