Irish racing was halted yesterday as a mark of respect to Sean Cleary, the 22-year-old apprentice jockey who died on Saturday night, a week after suffering head injuries in a fall at Galway. He had been in a coma at the Beaumont Hospital in Dublin and had become a father when his girlfriend, Maggie Farrell, gave birth to a baby boy on Wednesday.
Cleary was riding All Heart in a seven-furlong race when his mount clipped heels with another runner. The fatality comes three months after the death of the jump jockey Kieran Kelly due to head injuries suffered in a fall at Kilbeggan.
Cleary, apprenticed to Pat Flynn's yard, had partnered 14 winners this season, and Flynn paid tribute to the rider. "It's terrible that Sean was cruelly mown down in the prime of his life," he said. "He was always in good form, and there was never a complaint whether you wanted him to ride six lots or pick stones on the gallops."