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Jockey Keagan Kirkby dies after fall at horse race in Kent

Low angle view of horses running in a race. The image is also blurred.
The horse ran through the wing of a jump during the final race of the event (generic photo)

A jockey has died following a fall during a horse race in Kent.

Keagan Kirkby, 25, was riding in the Charing point-to-point on Sunday when his horse veered off course and ran into the side of a jump.

He was treated by an on-course medical team and the crew of an air ambulance but succumbed to his injuries.

Mr Kirkby worked at the stables of champion trainer Paul Nicholls, who described him as "one of our best, hardworking lads".

He joined Mr Nicholls' stables - in the village of Ditcheat, Somerset - in 2019 and this year was shortlisted for an industry-wide employees' award.

In a statement confirming his death, the Injured Jockeys Fund said the horse ran through the wing of a jump during the final race of the event.

A wing is a plastic railing that sits at an angle either side of a jump to guide the horse towards it.

Writing on X, Mr Nicholls, one of the UK's most successful horse trainers, said Mr Kirkby was "passionate about his job and his riding" and would be missed "terribly".

"Life is so hard sometimes," he said. "Winners totally insignificant compared to what has happened today. All at team Ditcheat are mortified. Thoughts with all his friends and family."

A statement from British Horseracing Authority chief executive Julie Harrington said: "We are devastated to hear the tragic news regarding the fatal injuries sustained by Keagan Kirkby.

"Our thoughts are with his family and friends, and everyone at the yard of Paul Nicholls.

"The entire racing industry will be in mourning at the loss of someone so young and with such potential."

It added that his nomination for the industry award spoke of a "thoughtful rider who develops a personal bond with his horses" and of "his affable, helpful nature and popularity on the yard".