The Jockey's Journal: ‘Tough journey ahead for my pal Freddie Tylicki’

The Jockey's Journal: ‘Tough journey ahead for my pal Freddie Tylicki’

THE racing world is still coming to terms with the heart-breaking injury to the popular Freddie Tylicki.

The German-born rider took a fall at Kempton at the beginning of the month which has left him with a T7 paralysis, which means he has no movement in the lower half of his body.

As Freddie is a personal friend of mine, it has been particularly upsetting. I first met Freddie up north of England when he was based with Richard Fahey when he was a champion apprentice.

He’s a very likable guy, a positive guy who has great banter, and I imagine I still will have that connection with him despite this potentially life-changing injury.

Whenever I go down south now I always see him and we have a good laugh, he’d always be next to me in the weighing room, so it’s sad to think we may never share those moments again.

It’s the type of incident that you never like to see, but as I’ve said in previous columns that risk is always there as soon as you get your jockey license.

It’s not ‘if’, it’s ‘when’ you break bones, and the three you pray you won’t ever break are your skull, back and neck.

Jump jockeys are much more vulnerable. On the flats, you don’t get as many falls, and when you do they’re usually not as serious, but there’s always a risk no matter what code.

Sean Cleary was a great friend of mine, and we all remember when he lost his life after a fall in Galway back in 2003.

Memories of that day came flooding back to me when news got around of what had happened Freddie in Kempton.

It’s one of them things you’re powerless to prevent, it’s just unfortunate that Freddie is the latest one to have it land on his front door.

Bookmakers and other racing figures have done some great charity work, led by TV presenter Matt Chapman, who started up an online fund raising page which attracted over £275,000 to help towards his medical expenses for the long road ahead.

Freddie is still not out of the woods just yet, he’s still in a lot of pain and there’s no clear signposts on that journey, but hopefully there’ll be some positivity to come of it in the coming weeks and months.

On a positive note from my own perspective, Quiet Reflection – upon whom I’ve had great success this year – has been named Cartier Flat Racing's Sprinter of the Year for Karl Burke.

There are only a handful of horses picked for these awards so for her to win that was amazing, particularly as we were really up against it with the likes of Aidan O’Brien, who cleaned up on the night.

O'Brien's star filly Minding was crowned both Cartier Horse of the Year and Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly. These awards are elite and have been going for over 25 years, so it holds very well in the breeding world if your horse has won a Cartier award. For that reason, I’m made up for Karl.

It was a great night, and not long after that I jetted out to Dubai for a holiday to visit some friends of mine, but Freddie Tylicki has never been far from my thoughts.