Former jump jockey loses civil lawsuit

  • Former jump jockey Peter Caldwell has lost his claim for damages against fellow riders Mick Fitzgerald and Adrian Maguire.

    In the first civil lawsuit of its kind in Britain, 36-year-old Caldwell was suing Fitzgerald and Maguire for negligence during a hurdle race in which he fell and broke his back at Hexham in 1994. Caldwell has not ridden since the accident.

    Fitzgerald and Maguire were suspended by the local stewards after being found guilty of careless riding following the incidentin which Caldwell was fired into the ground after his mount Fion Corn had stumbled.

    Mr Justice Holland did not see fit to award damages to Caldwell and said the two riders were guilty of lapses of care in their riding, but this did not constitute the recklessness or intentional poor riding needed to prove negligence.

    He said: “This event reflects the cut and thrust of serious horseracing; in theory avoidable, but in practice something that is bound to occur no matter how careful the riding standard.”

    Referring to Caldwell Mr Justice Holland added: “Injury was part of the life he chose. What is unusual was its seriousness and he has my full sympathy.”

    Had Caldwell’s claim been successful the effect on horseracing would havebeen far-reaching. Some would say, catastrophic. It would have set a precedent for jockeys to sue each other, as well as racecourses and perhaps even trainers

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