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Jockey O'Brien is airlifted to hospital after Killarney fall

By Robert Jones

Promising young rider Ana O'Brien was airlifted from Killarney to Cork University Hospital last night after suffering a horror fall from Druids Cross at the County Kerry track.

Fully conscious leaving the track, the apprentice — a daughter of legendary trainer Aidan and who has had a superb campaign — hit the floor two furlongs out in the mile rated race when St Gallen bumped into Druids Cross, her mount, which lost his footing and sent O’Brien to the ground.

Incidents like this in Flat racing, when horses can travel at around 40mph, are especially dangerous for jockeys, given the prevailing hard ground at summer meetings.

The horse suffered fatal injuries, while O’Brien was quickly attended to by the medical staff on duty, which included Turf Club medical officer Dr Adrian McGoldrick. An air ambulance arrived over an hour and a half later to take the young rider to Cork University Hospital, as racing was delayed.

Ana is one of four siblings, brothers Joseph — now retired and training horse — and Donnacha and sister Sarah all having ridden as jockeys. Her outstanding tally of 18 winners this season sees her in the top 10 riders in Ireland.

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