Promising young jockeys die in house blaze

A YOUNG jockey who jumped to safety from a blaze that claimed the lives of two fellow jockeys rode in a race hours after being discharged from hospital.

Dubliner Ian Brennan, 20, whose close friend, Jamie Kyne 18, from Co Galway, perished in a suspected arson attack, rode at Thirsk racecourse in Yorkshire hours after the tragedy that also claimed the life of Scottish jockey 19-year-old Jan Wilson.

Mr Brennan, from Donaghmede, and a fourth jockey, Dean Pratt, from Co Waterford, both jumped to safety from a third storey window of an apartment block in Norton, near Malton, North Yorkshire, in the early hours of Saturday.

Mr Kyne’s parents Gerry and Madeline, his four brothers and younger sister were being comforted by relatives last night. The Kynes run a stud farm in Kiltrogue, Claregalway. Jamie, a promising young jockey, had ridden 29 winners this year and was tipped to be crowned Apprentice Jockey of the Year.

Jarlath McDonagh, a Fine Gael councillor who is a second cousin of the young jockey, said his family and the entire community were devastated by the tragedy.

“Jamie was a lovely young man who was heavily involved in sport before he went to England to pursue his career. His progress was being closely watched and he was destined to make it all the way to the top. We felt he was in with a great chance of being the apprentice jockey of the year. It is very difficult to come to terms with it all.”

Jamie is survived by two older brothers, Francis and Jason, two younger brothers Brandon and Daniel, and a younger sister Cassandra.

His family have a long association with horses and Jamie moved to England around a year and a half ago and linked up with trainer John Quinn.

Eyewitnesses said Jamie, and fellow apprentice Jan Wilson, from Forfar in Scotland, were at a party when the fire broke out at Buckrose Court.

Champion jockeys Kieren Fallon and Mick Kinane spoke of their sadness at the deaths of the teenagers.

Fallon, who made his return from an 18-month riding suspension on Friday, said: “It is very sad and my heart goes out to the family, friends and relatives of the poor kids.”

Racing’s governing bodies in Ireland and Britain expressed sympathy to the friends and family of the dead.

A local man, in his 30s, who was arrested shortly after the fire broke out, was released by police on conditional bail pending further inquiries. Post-mortem examinations are expected to be carried out today.

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