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Jockey Ana O'Brien suffers multiple fractures in Killarney fall

Ana O'Brien: "I am back riding out every day now. I love it. If I didn’t love it so much I wouldn’t do it."
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Ana O'Brien, daughter of trainer Aidan, was airlifted from Killarney to Cork University Hospital on Tuesday night after suffering fractures to her neck, back and cheeks in a horror fall from Druids Cross.

Scans late on Tuesday revealed O'Brien had fractured her C1 and T6 vertebrae, and also fractured both cheek bones bilaterally. A brain scan came back clear and she is set for further MRI tests on Wednesday.

Dr Adrian McGoldrick, chief Turf Club medical officer, said on Tuesday: "Ana's brain scan is clear. She has a fractured vertebra in her neck and T6 in her back - both for MRI scans tomorrow to assess further. Brain scan is clear. She has fractured cheek bones bilaterally.

"Aidan and AnneMarie would like to thank the superb work provided to Ana by the Order of Malta, racecourse doctors, veterinary team and ground staff led by Val O'Connell. Also the air medical crew and the amazing staff at CUH."

He added: "She is likely to be out of action for three to four months. She's amazing."

Fatal fall

The incident occurred two furlongs out in the mile rated race when St Gallen bumped into Druids Cross, who instantly lost his footing and sent O'Brien crashing to the ground. The horse sadly suffered fatal injuries in the incident.

O'Brien was quickly attended to by the medical staff on duty, which included Turf Club medical officer Dr Adrian McGoldrick, and an air ambulance arrived over an hour and a half later.

When the air ambulance took off for Cork University Hospital it was clapped away by the anxious Killarney crowd.

"Ana was conscious when she left the track and the air ambulance is bringing her to Cork University Hospital," said O'Connell.

Sheila Lavery, who sent out Secret Wizard to win the race in question, was speaking for the entire crowd when saying: "The victory of Secret Wizard pales into insignificance and, while it's great to win a race, I'd give it back as long as Ana is okay. All that really matters is Ana, to be honest."

Ana was conscious when she left the track and the air ambulance is bringing her to Cork University Hospital
E.W. Terms