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Freddy Tylicki: Former jockey wins case against Graham Gibbons as judge rules over 'reckless' ride

Freddy Tylicki, who was left partially paralysed by a fall at Kempton in 2016, had been seeking to establish that Graham Gibbons was to blame; Tylicki was trampled after coming off his mount in the one-mile fillies' maiden race

Freddy Tylicki is bringing a High Court claim for £6 million against Graham Gibbons
Image: Freddy Tylicki brought a High Court claim for £6m against Graham Gibbons

Former jockey Freddy Tylicki has won a High Court case against fellow rider Graham Gibbons, with a judge ruling Gibbons rode with "reckless disregard" during a race in which Tylicki fell and was left partially paralysed.

Tylicki was trampled after coming off his mount, Nellie Deen, in the one-mile fillies' maiden race on October 31, 2016. As a result of his injuries, Tylicki is now a permanent wheelchair user.

Tylicki's lawyers argued that Mr Gibbons, who denied riding negligently, manoeuvred his horse Madame Butterfly into the path of Mr Tylicki's mount, which was running into a gap between his horse and the edge of the track as they turned on to the home straight.

In a judgment on Tuesday, Judge Karen Walden-Smith found in Mr Tylicki's favour, ruling that Mr Gibbons "had a reckless disregard for Mr Tylicki's safety".

The judge ruled that it was more likely than not that Mr Gibbons was aware of Mr Tylicki's presence before the fall.

Graham Gibbons
Image: Judge Walden-Smith found that jockey Graham Gibbons, pictured, had a 'reckless disregard' for Tylicki's safety

She continued: "If Mr Gibbons was not aware of Nellie Deen's presence he clearly should have been.

"He was considered to be a highly skilled and talented jockey, and a jockey, particularly riding at this very high level, both needs to be, and is, able to assess and reassess the constantly changing racing conditions, which includes the positioning of other horses that are nearby, in order to be able to adjust their own riding and tactics."

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In a statement, issued by Stewart-Moore solicitors, Tylicki said: "Today's result has finally provided me with closure and I look forward to putting this all behind me and moving on with my life.

"I hope though that this judgement acts as a reminder that competing in a dangerous sport like horseracing is no justification for competing with a reckless disregard for the safety of your fellow competitors."

During a five-day hearing last month, the High Court in London heard evidence from both jockeys.

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Sky Sports Racing's Josh Apiafi expects a full review of BHA stewarding after a High Court ruled in favour ofTylicki in his case against Gibbons.

Mr Tylicki told the court that he shouted out "Gibbo" moments before he fell. He said: "It was a shout for survival, to be honest, because I knew what was going to happen next, but there was no response."

Mr Gibbons denied trying to block Mr Tylicki's progress. "When Freddy shouted at me I looked over my right shoulder immediately and I was surprised and shocked that there was a horse there," he said.

Judge Walden-Smith said she had to decide whether the fall was "a very unfortunate accident with tragic consequences" or whether Mr Gibbons was liable for his fellow jockey's injuries.

She continued: "While that might, in some circumstances, be considered a short period of time... this was a sufficient period of time for a skilled jockey to make decisions."

British Horseracing Authority (BHA) stewards at Kempton did not issue Gibbons with any penalty for his riding on board Madame Butterfly.

In a statement, the BHA said: "The BHA will consider today's High Court judgement in detail and carefully assess what implications it may hold for British racing, in discussion with industry stakeholders.

"The full transcript of the hearing will also allow us to consider any of the other relevant matters which were raised over the course of the hearing."

The judge concluded that her findings only related to this case and did not set a precedent.

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