O’Brien suffers broken vertebrae in serious fall

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  • Irish jockey Ana O’Brien’s brain scan is “clear” after a serious fall at Killarney on Tuesday (18 July).

    Ana, who is the daughter of multiple Flat champion trainer Aidan, broke her neck and back in the fall.

    The 21-year-old was riding Druids Cross, trained by her brother Joseph, when they fell two furlongs from home in the second race of the meeting. The horse sustained fatal injures.

    Ana was taken off the course in an ambulance before being airlifted to Cork University Hospital (CUH) by the Irish Coast Guard air ambulance.

    Dr Adrian McGoldrick, Turf Club chief medical officer, was among those who attended O’Brien.

    He told Press Association Sport that Ana’s brain scan is clear and that she has fractured her C1 and T6 vertabraes and her cheek bones.

    “Aidan and AnneMarie (O’Brien) would like to thank the superb work provided to Ana by the Order Of Malta, racecourse doctors, veterinary team and ground staff led by Val O’Connell (clerk of the course),” he added. “Also the Air Medical Crew and the amazing staff at CUH.”

    Dr McGoldrick issued a further update on Wednesday (19 July) afternoon.

    “She has had her MRI scans and Professor Paul Redmond, the head of department at CUH, has looked at them and confirmed that she does not need surgery,” said McGoldrick.

    “They will continue to review her facial injuries.”

    He added he expects Ana to be out of action for three to four months.

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    There was a stewards enquiry, but as all those involved could not be present the matter was referred to the Turf Club for investigation.

    Before switching to racing, Ana represented Ireland at the European Eventing Championships for ponies twice aboard the superstar grey Ice Cool Bailey, winning team gold and silver and an individual bronze.

    She rode her first winner aged 16 at Dundalk on Fairylike, who was trained by her father.

    Her first winner outside of Ireland came at the opening of Bro Park racecourse in Sweden in June last year, and Ana most recently made international headlines when she became the third woman in history to contest the Derby at Epsom.

    Ana is a frequent visitor to the winners enclosure and currently stands second in the Irish apprentice Flat jockeys’ championship with 18 victories so far this season.

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