Racing: Phone row after bad fall shakes Duffield

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The Independent Online

George Duffield, the oldest jockey riding in Britain, was fortunate to escape with no more than a bad shaking after taking a crashing fall at Brighton yesterday. Duffield, 56, was thrown to the ground when Sun Of Speed tried to jump the path crossing the track, lost his footing and crashed through the plastic running rail.

The Amanda Perrett-trained horse broke a leg and was destroyed, while Duffield lay motionless until the arrival of the racecourse ambulance. Although Duffield appeared badly hurt, after 10 minutes of treatment in the ambulance room he limped out. "He tried to jump the path but lost it completely and I must admit it was a heavy fall," the veteran said. "I'm just a bit battered and bruised."

Duffield is due to partner the well fancied Numitas in the Cesarewitch at Newmarket today and will make a decision about his participation this morning.

For Duffield's wife, Ann, and his agent, Keith Bradley, there had been an anxious wait for news of his condition because of the current restrictions on the use of mobile phones by jockeys.

An irate Mrs Duffield, who confronted the Jockey Club's public-relations director, John Maxse, in the weighing-room at Newmarket, said: "Obviously, I couldn't get hold of George on his mobile. It took me 42 minutes to get through to the course and find out he was okay. I'm very unhappy about how hard it has been to get hold of him."

The Jockeys' Association chief executive, John Blake, said: "George's fall highlighted how the mobile-phone ban is getting in the way of getting information out. George's wife or Keith [Bradley] normally would have rung one of George's mates to find out how he was. This is a classic example of why things aren't working."