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The racing world was rocked on Monday when 37 amateur jockey Lorna Brooke passed away as a result of injuries suffered from a fall at Taunton on April 8th. She was airlifted to Bristol Southmead Hospital after her mount, Orchestrated, fell at the third fence in the Pontispool Equine Sports Centre Handicap Chase

She was said to be in intensive care undergoing tests for a suspected spinal injury and was in a serious, but stable condition, and was conscious.

She was placed into an induced coma on 16th April owing to complications and reported to be ‘critical, but stable’. The Injured Jockeys Fund announced via a statement on Monday the tragic news that Lorna had died.

The statement read, ‘It is with deep sadness that we have to share the tragic news that Lorna Brooke passed away yesterday. Her family thank everyone for their kindness in the last few weeks, particularly the staff at Southmead Hospital who were so professional. They will be having a private funeral and will hold a celebration of Lorna’s life once Covid restrictions allow.’ 

Lorna rode more than 300 times for her mother and had ridden 17 winners in Britain and Ireland. She was a regular on the point-to-point circuit and enjoyed 29 wins in that sphere since 2005. She partnered Garde Ville to victory in the Mixed Open at the North Staffordshire Point to Point on Easter Sunday. 

Fellow amateur rider David Maxwell told Racing TV ‘Amateurs do it for love, the love of the game and more importantly the love of the horse, there’s such passion in the sport. At the amateur level nobody has to do it. Lorna was at the forefront of the Corinthians. She rode a lot for her mother, and it was a lovely family story, which is what so much of National Hunt racing is about. It is often said, but at times like this you get a real sense of how tight knit the racing community, but especially National Hunt, really is.’ He continued, ‘The one thing I will say about racing in this country is the medical care the jockeys receive, it is second to none. This is the first fatality on a professional UK racecourse for about 15 years. That is testament to the amazing care in place. The British Horseracing Authority don’t get enough credit for this, it really is the gold-standard internationally which makes events such as this fortunately rather rare, but because of that it makes it probably more upsetting on the rare occasions that it does happen’ He concluded ‘This is tragic and shocking, it really is’.

Taunton Racecourse tweeted ‘All at Taunton Racecourse are deeply saddened by the tragic news of Lorna Brooke’s death as a result of injuries sustained in a race-riding fall at our meeting on Thursday 8th April. Our thoughts and condolences are with Lorna’s family and friends during this time’. 

It has since been announced that at their meeting on Wednesday evening 21st of April that Taunton Racecourse will pay their respects to Lorna’s memory with a period of silence and all will wear black armbands.

Simon Nott 

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