‘Lorna was at the forefront of the Corinthians’ – David Maxwell

David Maxwell has paid tribute to fellow amateur jockey Lorna Brooke, who died on Sunday.

Brooke, 37, who rode principally for her mother, Lady Susan Brooke, was one of many who took part in races simply for the love of her sport.

Like Maxwell and other amateurs, it costs them money to do what they do – and Maxwell said Brooke epitomised the spirit among jockeys in the non-paid ranks.

“Amateurs do it for love – the love of the game and more importantly the love of the horse,” he said.

“There’s such passion in the sport. At the amateur level nobody has to do it. Lorna was at the forefront of the Corinthians.

“She rode a lot for her mother and it was a really lovely family story, which is what so much of National Hunt racing is about.

“It is often said, but at times like this you get a real sense of how tight-knit the racing community, but especially National Hunt, really is.”

Brooke was airlifted to hospital following a fall at Taunton on April 8, and Maxwell was fulsome in his praise of the care jockeys receive on track.

“The one thing I will say about racing in this country is the medical care the jockeys receive, it is second to none. This is the first fatality on a professional UK racecourse for about 15 years. That is testament to the amazing care in place,” he said.

“The BHA (British Horseracing Authority) don’t get enough credit for this, it really is the gold-standard internationally which makes events such as this fortunately rather rare, but because of that it makes it probably more upsetting on the rare occasions that it does happen.

“This is tragic and shocking, it really is.”

The Professional Jockeys Association said in statement: “This is a devastating reminder of the dangers our brave men and women face and our thoughts and prayers are with Lorna’s family, friends and colleagues.

“Lorna was an incredibly hard working, popular member of the weighing room and whilst her licence was as an amateur jockey, she was a professional in every other sense. We have lost one of our own and she will be sorely missed.”

Current champion jockey Brian Hughes was another to pay tribute, on a day when jockeys sported black armbands at all meetings in Britain.

He told Sky Sports Racing: “It’s terrible. That is the harsh reality of this sport, but you always hope and pray it’s never going to happen to anyone.

Champion jockey Brian Hughes:
Champion jockey Brian Hughes: “You always hope and pray it’s never going to happen to anyone.” (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“When people get a fall, the first thing you do is hope they get up OK. The competitive edge goes out of the window.

“It’s terribly sad for Lorna and her family and friends. I must admit I didn’t know the extent of her injuries, but to read this morning that she’d lost her life is very sad.

“She’s lost her life doing something she loved. It’s a small community (in racing) and everyone is feeling it today.

“I wish her family and friends condolences and hope they can look back at her life with a smile, rather than the way it’s ended.”

Grand National-winning trainer Donald McCain wrote on Twitter: “Everyone here at Bankhouse was devastated to hear the news that Lorna Brooke had lost her fight this morning. Her family and friends are in our thoughts. RIP Lorna.”

Cheltenham Festival-winning rider Bridget Andrews added: “As sad as we are all feeling today, Lorna would want us to smile and carry on doing the sport we all love! We must never take for granted going home each night! Sleep tight Lorna x.”

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