The fall that sparked creation of Injured Jockeys Fund

By Sports Desk April 09, 2024

It is 60 years since a serious injury to Paddy Farrell in the 1964 Grand National helped spawn what is now the Injured Jockeys Fund.

At the time there was no system in place, financial or otherwise, to compensate jockeys whenever they were injured and Jack Berry, at the time a jump jockey himself who would go on to be a successful Flat trainer, was one of the riders to literally go round with collection buckets.

Farrell’s fall from Border Flight, while awful for all concerned, did at least provide a catalyst for change. Tim Brookshaw was another jockey to suffer serious injury at around the same time and the Farrell/Brookshaw Fund was set up originally to facilitate their recuperation before the pair asked that all jockeys should benefit.

John (Lord) Oaksey took on a prominent role, as did Berry.

“I do appreciate how good the facilities are now but it all started way back in 1964,” said Berry.

“Poor Paddy Farrell fell and broke his back in the Grand National. I was one of the jump jockeys who went round with buckets to collect money for him and if you like that was the start of the Injured Jockeys Fund.

“In those days there was nowhere for people to look to and he had a wife and four young kids at the time – they were seven, five, three and five months old. It was a bad situation.

“I had a bad fall at Wetherby when I broke my knee in five places and despite me conning my local doctor after three months to say I was fit, the Jockey Club doctor said there was no way I could ride, it only bent about 60 per cent.

“He asked me to go to Camden Town centre in London to rehabilitate. When I went there, along with me there were five dockers and a policeman but obviously they were just trying to drag it out as long as possible, I was the only one there who wanted to get better.

“I thought when I packed up riding and became a trustee of the Injured Jockeys Fund that we could do with a facility like Camden Town. It took me three years to get it past the trustees that we needed Oaksey House (in Lambourn) but when we got it past the trustees, I always thought we needed one in the north.”

The one in the north is known as Jack Berry House and while the man famous for wearing red shirts is a little embarrassed the facility carries his name given it was down to the work of so many, he admits to feeling a sense of pride at the outcome.

“Once I suggested it, I was told it was only six years since we opened Oaksey House but I said ‘don’t worry, we’ll raise the funds’ and with the help of the IJF, we held things like bungee jumps, sponsored swims and walks, all sorts to get the money,” he said.

“I did say to the trustees that we shouldn’t call it Jack Berry House we should call it Our House, but it is something I am very proud of and I’m absolutely delighted with it.

“It’s not just for injured jockeys, it’s a community hub if you like. Someone like Brian Hughes might ride out in Malton, go and use the gym there and then head off for six rides at Wetherby or somewhere.

“The wives of ex-jockeys still go and do Pilates there and have a cup of tea and a bit of a chat.”

Hopefully in the future Graham Lee may be a regular visitor to Jack Berry House.

It was 20 years ago that Lee won the Grand National on Amberleigh House before he switched his attentions to the Flat, going on to register a unique double by steering Trip To Paris to triumph in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.

Sadly, Lee suffered a fall at Newcastle in November which left him with life-changing injuries.

“You wouldn’t believe how many jockeys get injured. When you go down there, there are jockeys with broken collarbones and all sorts, it is a very dangerous profession,” said Berry.

“Look at Graham Lee, the poor lad is seriously injured. With Graham hopefully there might be scope for some more movement returning. He can move his shoulders and his neck.

“Graham is going to visit a rugby player who broke his neck, he has a rehabilitation place near Leicester and he’ll go there for a couple of weeks and then he’ll go home after the alterations have been made to make it wheelchair friendly. No doubt he will go to Jack Berry House to have physio eventually.”

Related items

  • Supreme Ventures Racing urges review of racing rule after Caymanas Park abandonments Supreme Ventures Racing urges review of racing rule after Caymanas Park abandonments

    Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL), operators of Caymanas Park, have called for a review of Rule 44 (iii) enforced by the Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC) following the cancellation of two races during the April 27 race meet at Caymanas Park.

    In a press conference on Monday addressing the abandoned races, SVREL Executive Chairman Solomon Sharpe expressed frustration with the rule, highlighting its potential impact on the racing industry.

    "This rule, unique to Jamaica, imposes a strict five-minute limit after the published post time for races at Caymanas Park," Sharpe stated. "It fails to account for various factors that can delay race starts and penalizes all stakeholders when races are abandoned, affecting punters, jockeys, grooms, trainers, owners, promoters, and the government."

    Last year, Caymanas Park contributed over $260 million in combined taxes to the government's coffers. Sharpe urged the JRC to engage SVREL in discussions on Rule 44, emphasizing the need for constructive dialogue to address the rule's impact.

    "We were not consulted during the initial discussions on this rule, and now, with two races abandoned in a single race day, our concerns have materialized," Sharpe explained. "SVREL is open to collaborating with the JRC to review and refine this amended rule."

    Representatives from the Grooms Association, Jockeys Association, and the United Racehorse Trainers Association echoed SVREL's concerns and supported the call for a review of Rule 44.

    Sharpe concluded by appealing to regulators, stakeholders, and the public to support the growth of the horseracing industry in Jamaica. "Horseracing has immense potential in Jamaica and can become a significant foreign exchange earner. Realizing this potential requires collaboration among all stakeholders."

    SVREL has been operating Caymanas Park since March 2017 after the government divested the property. With investments exceeding J$4 billion in product enhancements and innovations like the Mouttet Mile, which boasts the largest purse in the English-speaking Caribbean, SVREL remains committed to advancing the horseracing experience in Jamaica.

  • Supreme Ventures Racing regrets abandonment of two races at Caymanas Park on Saturday Supreme Ventures Racing regrets abandonment of two races at Caymanas Park on Saturday

    Supreme Ventures Racing & Entertainment Limited (SVREL) has expressed regret and disappointment following the abandonment of two races during the Saturday, April 27 race day at Caymanas Park in St Catherine, Jamaica.

    The decision to abandon these races, SVREL said, was made in compliance with regulations set forth by the Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC), leading to the refund of all related pools according to SVREL's Pari-mutuel rules.

    According to the statement released by SVREL late Saturday, the abandonment of races number one and six, respectively, was declared by the stewards of the Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC) due to delays that exceeded the permitted time frame as stipulated by Rule 44(iii).

    Specifically, in race number one, scheduled to commence at 12:00 pm, a saddling issue with horse number five and a mandatory veterinary check for horse number eight, which reared and fell after exiting the saddling barn, resulted in delays beyond the allowable limit.

    Similarly, race number six, slated for 3:10 pm, was delayed due to a horse running loose, ultimately leading to its abandonment by the stewards of the JRC.

    SVREL explained that the recent amendments to Rule 44(iii), which came into effect from April 1, 2024, mandate strict adherence to race start times with a maximum allowance of five minutes after the published post time. SVREL noted that Jamaica is unique in enforcing such a rule without prior consultation with the sole promoter of horseracing in Jamaica.

    The enforcement of this rule has led to financial losses for industry stakeholders, including owners, trainers, jockeys, grooms, punters, and the promoter and as such the disruption caused by the abandonment of these races understandably resulted in unrest among stakeholder groups.

    Despite the challenges faced, the race meet resumed with race number seven at approximately 4:00 pm, SVREL noted.

    SVREL has now issued a sincere apology to valued customers and stakeholders for the inconvenience caused by the abandonment of races one and six by the JRC. SVREL also emphasized its readiness for open dialogue with the JRC and all impacted stakeholders to ensure the continued success and integrity of the horseracing industry.

    As the sole promoter of horseracing in Jamaica, SVREL said it remains committed to addressing challenges collaboratively and upholding the highest standards of professionalism and service within the industry.


  • Light seeking to shine again at Sandown Light seeking to shine again at Sandown

    Kitty’s Light is taking aim at his usual season finisher in the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown.

    The gelding has been a star for trainer Christian Williams, winning big handicap events like the Eider Chase and the Scottish Grand National and going close in the Charlie Hall and the Coral Trophy.

    He has particularly good record in the bet365 Gold Cup on the final day of the season, missing out only due to interference when second in 2021 and coming home third in 2022.

    Last year he was completed the set of podium finishes when winning by two and a half lengths under usual jockey Jack Tudor.

    The two are well acquainted and teamed up for Kitty’s Light’s Grand National bid at Aintree earlier in the month, where he ran a valiant race to finish fifth behind four Grade-One winning Irish chasers.

    Williams was incredibly proud of his stable star and is now hoping the gelding can shine again in the Sandown contest he has found to be lucrative in the past.

    “It was wonderful, we trained him to win the race and we thought he could, but you couldn’t be disappointed with what he did,” Williams said of the National performance.

    “We were thrilled, the horse tried his best and we were very, very proud of horse and jockey.

    “He’s come out of it very well, if the race was run today even then he’d be running, he’s in good form.

    “He loves it at Sandown with the big fences, his jumping has come on now but even as a five-year-old he nearly won the race.

    “He was third the year after that, it really seems to suit him.

    “I think he likes going right-handed, he hangs a little bit right at home and he seems to really enjoy it there.

    “We’re taking our chance anyway, he seems well and we’ll hope for the best.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.