Irish jockey killed in gallops accident

Irish jockey Ronan Lawlor was killed in a gallops accident on Tuesday morning.

Lawlor, aged 21, died while working horses at neighbour Pat Fahy's yard at Leighlinbridge in Co Carlow.

The promising apprentice was pulling up his mount when the horse tried to jink out to the right, catapulting the jockey out of the saddle and into a wooden stake.

Ambulance services soon arrived on the scene, but were unable to revive him.

Lawlor is survived by parents John and Helena, brothers Gavin, Conor and Cathal, and sister Aoife.

Fahy said: "The horse was just finishing a piece of work and as Ronan was pulling him up, he jinked out to the right to try and go in a different direction.

"The two of them had a bit of a battle as Ronan tried to get him back on track, but the horse just took off and Ronan came off the side and hit a timber stake.

"It all happened very fast and within a few seconds I was running over to try and help him.

"The ambulance came quickly and it is just very hard to take.

"He's been riding out for me since he was a kid and was part of a lovely family.

"His brother Gavin used to ride out for me and now works for Jim Bolger and I'd quite often meet up with the family down at the local pub.

"It's devastating for everyone."

Lawlor had ridden in 18 races on the Flat and was last summer apprenticed to County Tipperary-based trainer David Wachman.

Wachman said: "First and foremost, our sympathies go to his family after such a tragic accident.

"He was with me last summer but was heading into the jumping game.

"You couldn't have come across a better person - he was hard-working and very honest.

"He was a top-class guy. Whatever he turned his hand to, you know he'd succeed."

Lawlor was also closely associated with County Cork handler John Murphy.

"I'm absolutely gutted and it's just shocking news," said Murphy.

"He was just one of those old-fashioned, genuine kids that are so rare in the world nowadays.

"He rode a good few times for me and really was a fabulous kid.

"I am absolutely gutted about this and I'm not one for getting too attached to the lads normally."

Weighing-room colleague Wayne Lordan, who is stable jockey for Wachman, praised Lawlor's dedication to racing.

"It's absolutely terrible news. When he was riding for David he was a good lad to have around the place and for this to happen is just awful," he said.

"He was such a dedicated lad and his plan was to turn his hand to National Hunt racing.

"He wasn't a small fellow but he came to ride for David and enjoyed the experience.

"Being a jockey is a job everyone enjoys and it's just so sad when something like this happens."

The Irish Turf Club expressed regret at Lawlor's death.

Spokesman Cliff Noone said: "The Irish Turf Club would like to offer its deepest sympathies to his parents and siblings.

"This is clearly a tragic accident and our thoughts are with his family."

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