THE fall that left jockey Freddy Tylicki paralysed was ‘completely avoidable’ – and his rival’s breath ‘smelled of alcohol’ on the day of the incident, a court heard.
Wheelchair-bound Tylicki – who said he ‘shouted for survival’ in the race – is suing Graham Gibbons for £6million in London’s High Court.
The jockey, who now works as a pundit for Sky Sports Racing, was paralysed following the fall at Kempton in October 2016.
Gibbons denies causation and negligence and his defence is that the fall was a ‘racing accident occasioned by the horses coming together’.
But respected racing pundit Jim McGrath told the court Gibbons should have been hit with a dangerous riding charge on the day – the first in Britain since 2009.
Stewards at the time said Tylicki’s fall – which saw four jockeys in total hit the deck – was an accident.
Put to him that the incident was no more than an accident by Gibbons’ legal representative Patrick Lawrence QC, McGrath said: “Absolute rubbish.”
He added: “I don’t think there is any question that Mr Gibbons had the opportunity to correct his horse.
“My experience as a race reader and commentator and my knowledge of the rules and, crucially in this incident the length of time it took to unfold and the position of the incident in this race, are all important matters.
“Putting that all together – to me it was a completely avoidable incident.”
Speaking earlier in the trial, top jockey Jim Crowley, who was also in the race, alleged Gibbons’ breath stank of alcohol on the day of the incident.
Crowley acknowledged under questioning there was no sign of Gibbons being ‘under the influence’.
Asked about the allegation, Gibbons said it was ‘one person’s opinion’.
Gibbons said: “There was 35 other jockeys in the weighing room on the same day – none of them smelled alcohol on my breath.
“If there was, the stewards would have been alerted.”
A replay of the fall has been shown in court dozens of times, according to the BBC.
McGrath, who has 41 years’ experience in racing, told the court he thought the whole thing ‘shouldn’t have happened’.
He said: “To me this shouldn’t have happened, it was a non-competitive part of the race.”
The trial continues.