Emotional Mick Fitzgerald pays tribute to Lorna Brooke after jockey dies aged 37 on 'really sad day' for racing

EMOTIONAL Mick Fitzgerald paid tribute to tragic Lorna Brooke after the jockey died aged just 37.

Brooke suffered a horror fall at Taunton on April 8 and sadly succumbed to her injuries after being airlifted to hospital.

Iconic jockey Fitzgerald, 50, a former Grand National winner, said Brooke's tragic passing highlighted the dangers brave jockeys face day in, day out.

Speaking on Sky Sports Racing, Fitzgerald said: "Deepest condolences to the family.

"Horseracing is a small community and I think this will shake up an awful lot of people.

"Very often racing is about people who do it for the love of the sport. Lorna was an amateur, she rode because she loved riding.

"She loved competing and one of her greatest thrills was when she had the winner in Ireland [at Fairyhouse in 2015].

"Every winner she had meant an awful lot to her and her family.

"It's a really sad day. When racing loses one of its own it's tough to swallow.

"It's quite shocking when you hear the news.

"As a jockey you go to ride and hear what everyone says to you about it being a risky sport, that tomorrow's ride might be your last.

"Honestly, you just think, 'yeah, yeah, yeah it's the sort of thing that happens to someone else', it doesn't happen to you.

"Then something like this happens and it brings it back to everybody how close these guys are to the limit all the time.

"You are millimetres away from something like this happening and you can never underestimate the risk jockeys take every single time.

"So every time you have a losing bet or losing ride, maybe it's not all that bad after all."

Heartbroken AP McCoy was among the other big names devastated to learn of Brooke's passing.

The 20-time champion jockey posted on Twitter: "Heartbreakingly sad news. Thoughts and prayers with her family. RIP Lorna."

Grand National-winning trainer Henry de Bromhead wrote: "Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Lorna Brooke."

SunSport columnist Matt Chapman said: "Amateur jockey Lorna Brooke has sadly and tragically passed away. We can only send our deepest sympathy to her friends and family. And remember the sport we love can be so so tough."

Brooke was riding 16-1 shot Orchestrated – trained by her mum Lady Susan Brooke – when the horse fell at the third fence at Taunton on April 8.

Her death was announced in a statement released by the Injured Jockeys Fund on Monday morning.

The statement 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 ten days, particularly the staff at Southmeads Hospital who were so professional.

"They will be having a private funeral and will hold a celebration of Lorna's life once Covid-19 restrictions allow."

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