After Brutal Injury, Horse Racing Community Unites in Sending ‘Prayers’ for Jockey Graham Lee

Published 11/13/2023, 12:15 PM EST

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More than 48 hours have passed since the news of Graham Lee’s injury took the front page. The 47-year-old jockey saw the worst day of his career in Newcastle on Friday evening. The uncanny seating error on his Kodiac, Ben Macdui, made Graham fall to the ground. That fall took everyone in shock as the jockey has made quite an impression on the Flat this year. Several reports and eyewitnesses came forward to describe the gore of the incident. As per the combined viewpoints, Graham Lee was not in an ideal position at the start of the Acca Fenwa-Handicap race. Incidentally, Ben Macdui committed a tremor when emerging from the stalls and Graham was on the ground by his head. 

Since then, the horseracing community has spent some restless moments as the aftermath news was not clear. It took more than 24 hours to make an initial comment on the situation. The most reliable one came from the Injured Jockeys Fund. Later, the reliability became firmer when several confirmed voices shared the same statement. After that, it took no time for the social media to be filled with heartfelt posts.   

The awkward fall takes the better of Graham Lee     

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Matt Chapman, working for several sports broadcasters and an avid follower of the game, took to his X-handle (@MCYeeehaaa) to break the aftermath situation. He sealed one statement on Graham’s situation: “Graham’s MRI scan has shown that he has suffered an unstable cervical fracture causing damage to the spinal cord, as well as damage to blood vessels in the mid-cervical region.” Still, he felt hopeless in facing the condition. His caption resonated that, “All we can all do is keep hoping”.  

Several trusted news agencies put up the statement of the Injured Jockeys Fund verbatim, “Jockey Graham Lee’s MRI scan has shown that he has suffered an unstable cervical fracture causing damage to the spinal cord, as well as damage to blood vessels in the mid-cervical region,”.

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The striking imbalance in Graham’s accident caught everyone’s eye. The veteran has already seen himself clinching 47 Flat in the 2023 season. However, the Flat was not his first choice. He started his journey in the game by joining Howard Johnson’s team in 2002. The next year was bittersweet for him as he came third in the Grand National. But in 2004, he made history for himself and the horse trainer Ginger McCain after winning Grand National on Amberleigh House. 

The same Graham Lee returned to the Flat after showing a reason for being prone to injuries. His susceptibility to injuries due to jumps troubled him largely before the 2012 season. However, in this period, he gained the ability to do weights. That helped him later.   

Horse racing community goes with folded hands for Graham Lee’s recovery

Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary Hospital has become the present address of bed-ridden Graham Lee. The suddenness of the incident has gobbled up the race track as well as the horse racing community. One flick of it was visible in the reply section after Matt Chapman’s post. 

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Several emotions went up in the moment. One user account by the name of Twister Tipster thanked Matt for posting the current situation of the jockey. His post was, “Praying for Graham and his family – thank you for the update”. The same emotion came out from the post of another user, Paul Walbyoff. His post continued, “Thank you for the update Matt. I’m sure the whole Horse Racing family around the world is sending very best wishes and praying for Graham to pull through. Keep fighting Graham.”. His tone seemed inspiring in this dark hour. 

Fans still remember his achievements from 2004. DaveJB’s X handle showed that emotion, “Just praying he recovers, the irony that a grand national winning jockey sustains such an awful injury after switching to flat racing.” The suddenness of the moment also has kept Graham’s fans engulfed. LottiBea thought in the same way. The fan’s post read, “Not the update I was hoping to read, sending so much love to him and his family, you are very much in my thoughts”. 

After all this, it was to remember the risky journey of a jockey down the road. Steven58 reflected on the same thought with the post, “These jockeys put their lives on the line each and every day, in this sport we all love..take a moment to say a little prayer for Graham and his family”. Nobody wants a repeat of the 2016 mishap with Freddy Tylicky. He is the last Flat jockey who saw almost a similar occurrence with him. The retired jockey now spends his time in a wheelchair. However, it was a Flat that gave Graham the top post in the 2015 Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.   

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Written by:

Prasun Chakrabarty

700Articles

One take at a time

Hello there! I am Prasun Chakrabarty, an Olympics sports writer at EssentiallySports. Being an adrenaline junkie, I take a keen interest in creating insights about various avenues of the sporting realm. As an ardent swimming enthusiast, I take inspiration from the Baltimore Bullet Michael Phelps and love to create insights on various nooks and crannies around the turquoise turf.
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Edited by:

Shifa Jahan