Racing remembers fire victims

Racing remembers fire victims

Leading jockeys Kieren Fallon and Mick Kinane led the tributes to Jamie Kyne, from Ireland, and Jan Wilson, the two apprentice riders who lost their lives in a fire in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Kyne, 18, and fellow apprentice Miss Wilson, 19, perished in the blaze in Norton, near Malton, North Yorkshire. They were having a party at the time.

A local man in his 30s was being questioned by detectives.

Police have not yet confirmed the identities of the two victims, but the teenagers have been missing since the inferno swept through their block in the early hours.

Fallon, who began his British riding career in the north of England, made his return from an 18-month riding suspension on Friday.

The six-times champion jockey said: “It is very sad and my hearts go out to the family, friends and relatives of the poor kids.

“It is something you don’t like to see in racing or in any other sport.”

Kinane, one of the elder statesman of the weighing room, won yesterday’s Irish Champion Stakes aboard the brilliant Sea The Stars.

He said: “I was very, very saddened to hear the news before racing at the sad loss of the two young riders.

“I would like to express by deepest sympathies to their families.”

Kyne was apprentice to Malton trainer John Quinn, whose yard is in mourning.

Sean Quinn, the trainer’s son and assistant, said in a tribute on Facebook: “Our family will be doing everything we can to help the cause, mate, and we will stay in touch with your family.”

Kyne had this season ridden 12 winners for Quinn, who said on Sunday morning he will not be releasing a statement until the police have confirmed Kyne’s death as one of the two bodies which still remain in the third-floor flat.

The family of Galway-born Kyne said they were devastated and shocked.

His aunt said: “The family are devastated. Jamie was a star.”

Of his parents, she added: “They are so proud of him. At the moment they are just devastated and shocked.”

Miss Wilson had been due to ride Imperial Sword, owned by her mother, Margaret, at Thirsk on Saturday.

The horse was declared a non-runner on Saturday morning.

Mrs Wilson, of Greenhead Farm, Rescobie, said on Saturday of reports her daughter had been a victim of the blaze: “It hasn’t been confirmed. We are waiting to find out.”

Kyne’s friend and fellow apprentice jockey, Ian Brennan, was also in the third-floor flat and jumped to safety when the fire ripped through the building at 2.15am.

The 20-year-old was released from hospital in the early hours of the morning and went on to ride at Thirsk.

A fourth person in the block – believed to be an apprentice jockey – was also taken to York District Hospital and treated for burns and smoke inhalation.

The bodies of the victims remained in the burned-out building overnight as emergency services worked to make the structure safe enough for them to enter.

They are expected to be removed today.

York racecourse stage a meeting this afternoon and will observe a period of silence to remember the two jockeys killed.

A statement from the Yorkshire track read: “As a mark of respect, we will observe a silence in the parade racing before the main race on Sunday at 3.45pm, provide black armbands for the jockeys, and fly the main raceday flags at half-mast.”

Kyne’s biggest career victory came at York when the Allan Dickman-trained Ishetoo won the £40,000 sportingbet.com Sprint at York in May.

He had been due to partner the same horse in a six-furlong handicap this afternoon.

Sunday’s other meetings at Fontwell and Worcester will also pay tribute to Kyne and Miss Wilson.

A former pupil of Chapelpark Primary School in Angus and Forfar Academy, Miss Wilson had an early and passionate love for horses.

Outside school, she volunteered at Riding for the Disabled and was a committee member of Forfar Young Farmers.

As soon as she was old enough to leave school, she headed south to Newmarket for a nine-week course at the British Racing School.

From there she moved to Ferdy Murphy’s National Hunt yard in North Yorkshire in October 2007, and later moved to David Barron’s yard as an apprentice.

Murphy said: “Sometimes you get up on a morning and you have a horse lame or a horse with a cold, but this just puts it all into perspective.”

Barron added: “I’ve been around a little while now and I can honestly say I’ve never felt as bad over anything as I do over this.

“When you think about racing at a time like this, it just doesn’t matter a damn.”

Racing’s governing body in Britain gave sympathy towards friends and family of Kyne and Miss Wilson.

A British Horseracing Authority statement read: “Racing has lost two young jockeys who had already shown so much promise and talent.

“Our thoughts and sympathies are with their families and friends.”

Kevin Darley, chief executive of the Professional Jockeys Association, said: “Jamie Kyne and Jan Wilson were well on their way in their careers as jockeys.

“The thoughts of everyone in the weighing room go out to their family and friends.”

A statement issued by the Irish Jockeys’ Association read: “Jockeys know, and come to accept, the many risks they face on a daily basis in their career.

“But to lose two young talents in such a manner seems an unfortunate waste of life.”

Kyne partnered only eight winners last season – but really came into his own this term, securing 29 victories in 2009.

Four of those were achieved at Hamilton Park, in South Lanarkshire.

Clerk of the course Hazel Peplinski is also responsible for the Hamilton Park Members Syndicate, who own Chookie Hamilton.

The Ian Semple-trained five-year-old won in the hands of Kyne at Ayr in June.

Peplinski said: “He was so tactically intelligent and didn’t just wait for instructions.

“I just can’t believe the news – everything is a bit hollow.”

Kyne claimed his last ever winner at Beverley when Quinn’s Duchess Dora landed a five-furlong sprint on Bank Holiday Sunday.

Beverley chairman Charles Maxsted said: “It’s horrifying news because he was very promising young rider.

“It’s a terrible blow.”

One of Kyne’s more high-profile rides came at Newcastle in this year’s Northumberland Plate, in which he partnered Michael Bell’s The Betchworth Kid to finish ninth.

Newmarket-based Bell said: “Jamie was really catching everyone’s imagination up north and while I wasn’t familiar with Jan, she was a nice girl and will be very much missed.”

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