Lorna Brooke, the amateur jockey who sustained spinal injuries in a fall at Taunton on April 8, has died in hospital.
Brooke, 37, had been put in an induced coma after complications set in a week after being airlifted to hospital in Bristol following the fall from Orchestrated, trained by her mother Lady Susan Brooke, in a chase at the west country course.
A statement from the Injured Jockeys Fund this morning said: “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 10 days, particularly the staff at Southmeads Hospital who were so professional.
“They will be holding a private funeral and will hold a celebration of Lorna’s life once Cobid restrictions allow.”
Brooke, known for her hard work, was a true amateur, race-riding some usually fairly moderate horses, for the love of it and them. She even drove Orchestrated, a horse who had never previously fallen, to the races in the lorry on the day of her fall.
She had ridden 17 winners including one at Fairyhouse in the first ever lady jockeys chase on 25-1 shot Moonlone Lane in 2015. She kept the ride and won next time out at Musselburgh.
Brooke’s fall came two days before the biggest win for a female jockey when Rachael Blackmore won the Grand National on Minella Times.
She is the first jockey to be killed on a British racecourse as a direct result of a fall since Tom Halliday at Market Rasen in July 2005. Prior to that Richard David died following a fall at Southwell in 1996, Philip Barnard at Wincanton in 1991 and Vivian Kennedy at Huntingdon in 1988.
Jockey Harry Bannister said on Twitter: “Devastating to hear about Lorna Brooke, puts everything into perspective. Thoughts go to her family, friends and all who knew her. What a very sad day indeed.”
ITV’s racing presenter Matt Chapman added: “We can only send our deepest sympathy to her friends and family. And remember the sport we love can be so, so tough.”