Maguire sidelined after horrific fall

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The Independent Online


Swift reversals of fortune are part of a jockey's job description, but few swing between good luck and bad like Adrian Maguire. After reaching his half-century for the season with a 1,835-1 treble at Warwick on Monday, the Irishman injured a knee in a four-horse pile-up in the first race at Leicester yesterday afternoon, and is expected to be sidelined for at least four weeks. His participation in the Cheltenham Festival, now less than seven weeks away, must also be in doubt.

Later in the afternoon, the danger which is ever-present for riders was emphasised again, as Shashi Righton, a conditional rider, somersaulted four times when Lawnswood Junior, a clear leader at the time, fell in the handicap hurdle. Righton was also taken to the Infirmary where he was found to be suffering from concussion, but was otherwise unscathed.

Maguire was riding Boss's Bank in the Croxton Park Novices' Hurdle when his mount, having made errors at the first two flights, stood off much too far at the third and gave his jockey no chance of staying in the saddle. With the field tightly bunched, mayhem followed. Divertimiento, Wayfarers Way and Worth The Wait were all brought down, while Maguire appeared to be caught on the left knee by a flying hoof.

"It was horrific and there was such a melee," Mick Fitzgerald, who was riding Wayfarers Way, said. "Two of us went over him and it was totally unavoidable. It's unfortunate for Adrian as he was just starting to get things together again."

Boss's Bank suffered broken ribs and internal injuries after being kicked in the face in the incident, and had to be destroyed. "His condition worsened after the race and the vet said there was nothing we could do," Alan King, assistant to the horse's trainer, David Nicholson, said.

An early statement from Angela Watts, a hospital spokeswoman, implied that Maguire would be sidelined for at least six weeks. Fitzgerald offered a more optimistic forecast, however, when he collected Maguire as he was discharged yesterday evening.

"Adrian is comfortable and has had his knee strapped. He has been told to let it settle down for two or three days before going for a further examination. It looks like he has chipped a bone and he seems to have a bit of ligament trouble too, but he will be more upset that Boss's Bank had to be put down."

Yesterday's serious injury is the third which Maguire has suffered within a year. He broke an elbow last April, losing any chance of securing his first riders' championship, and then broke an ankle when Hatcham Boy slipped up on the flat at Ascot in November, again forfeiting all hope of the title in the process. He also missed last year's Festival at Cheltenham following the sudden death of his mother.