Irish jockey escapes injury after spectacular fall

Irish jockey escapes injury after spectacular fall

Irish jockey Jeremiah McGrath escaped unscathed after a spectacular fall at Taunton racecourse yesterday, writes Colm O'Connor.

Cork native McGrath was unseated from Treasure The Ridge at the last in The Ron Osborne Memorial Novices’ Hurdle Race.

Last night he expressed relief that he hadn’t sustained serious injury in the fall which was captured by photographer Alan Crowhurst for Getty Images.

McGrath said: “It was one of those run-of-the-mill midweek meetings.

“The horse was not really fancied but was running okay before making a mistake at the last.

“As you can see from the pictures I went flying through the air and all that was going through my head was ‘don’t land on your neck, don’t land on your neck…..’

“Thankfully I landed on my back. I got a nasty wallop and was a bit winded but when you are lying there and can move all your limbs then you aren’t complaining too much.”

McGrath (25) admits he has been relatively lucky in terms of injuries.

“I fractured a vertebrae in my back and broke my sternum and few ribs but by and large I have been very fortunate.”

Lengthy lay-offs are nightmares for any jockey, but especially now as the countdown to the Cheltenham Festival nears single figures.

“Definitely the Festival was on my mind after the fall. I look to be busy enough with a nice book of rides, predominantly for my boss, Nicky Henderson. One of the rides is on board Verdana Blue which is entered in the Mares’ Novice hurdle and there is an interesting Irish connection as she was trained in Cork by Eddie Kent before she came over to Nicky.”

Five years ago McGrath bagged his first - and only - Festival winner when guiding 40/1 shot Une Artiste to victory in the Fred Winter Hurdle.

“I’m looking forward to it, is a very exciting time for me. I’m looking for my second winner, which just shows you how tough it is to take a victory at the Festival.”

Meanwhile another Cork jockey - Aidan Coleman from Innishannon - brought up a century of winners for the second successive season with a smooth victory on Marcilhac in the Forbra Gold Cup Handicap Chase at Ludlow.

This story first appeared in the Irish Examiner.

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