A talented amateur jockey died on Sunday aged just 37 after falling from her horse at Taunton earlier in April.
Lorna Brooke, a prolific point-to-point winner who also triumphed in 17 National Hunt races, fell from Orchestrated – trained by her mum, Lady Susan Brooke – at the Somerset track on April 8.
She was airlifted to the Southmead hospital with severe spinal injuries, and after her condition deteriorated in intensive care Brooke was placed into an induced coma.
Tragically, she was pronounced dead on Sunday.
The Injured Jockeys Fund announced the death on Monday in a statement which 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.”
A Stark Reminder
Lorna Brooke’s death is a reminder of the dangers that jockeys face each and every time they climb into the saddle.
Fatalities are rare, of course, but there aren’t many top jockeys in the sport that haven’t broken bones and been left nursing serious injuries.
It’s even sadder, really, when somebody as effervescent as Brooke, who was known by many in racing as having a constant smile on her face – win or lose.
There was a minute’s silence before all UK and Irish racing on Monday, and her fellow jockeys wore black armbands as they paid tribute to a comrade taken in the most awful of circumstances.
Brian Hughes told At The Races:
“That’s the harsh reality of this sport, but you hope and pray it’s never ging to happen to anyone.
“When there’s a fall, competitive edge goes out of the window and you hope that they are okay.
“To read this morning that she had lost her life is very, very sad.”
Former champion jockey Richard Johnson took to Twitter to pass on his condolences.
Still can’t believe the sad new about Lorna Brooke. She always had a smile and loved racing. Our thoughts are with her family at this very sad time. pic.twitter.com/ovZshdwCky
— Richard Johnson (@dickyjohnson77) April 19, 2021
Many recalled the fantastic story of her win at Fairyhouse in the first ever ladies chase back in December 2015. She got out of bed at 3:15 in the morning to drive all the way to Ireland to partner the 25/1 no-hoper Moonlone Lane – the joy on her face at completing the most remarkable victory will be the lasting legacy of somebody who loved the sport dearly.
The Today FM Ladies Handicap Chase was devised by Fairyhouse’s manager Paul Roe, who found out that getting a dozen female jockeys over to Ireland was a tough task.
“The entries came in and Paul Stafford rang me to say he had no jockey for his horse [Moonlone Lane]. I told Paul about Lorna and he said he’d be happy to use her,” he recalled.
“So over comes Lorna to ride a horse with absolutely no form, a rank outsider who looked to have no chance whatsoever, yet all she kept saying was how much she appreciated being asked to ride in the race.
“She said she always wanted to ride in Ireland and she was absolutely thrilled to be able to tick off that box. Then she ends up winning the bloody thing! You couldn’t write it. It was just unbelievable.”