Horse Racing Community in Shock as Jockey Graham Lee Faces ‘Serious Injury,’ Adding to a Year of Challenges for Big Names

Published 11/13/2023, 12:51 PM EST

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Among all its exhilarating races and adrenaline rushes, horse racing comes with high chances of injuries. Despite the fact that organizing bodies and riders take all the necessary precautions, injuries still remain part and parcel of this beautiful sport. These injuries are usually minor like other sports. However, they can at times be serious, and even turn out to be fatal in some unfortunate cases.

In the past few weeks, the equestrian community has witnessed many such kinds of incidents, the latest being the Graham Lee incident. Lee is a highly experienced and accomplished rider. However, such is the unpredictability with horses that even his 2-decade experience fell short. Lee suffered damage to his spinal cord at Newcastle and is currently battling in intensive care.

Graham Lee suffers ‘very serious injury’


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Graham Lee is a renowned name in the equestrian world. The 47-year-old Irish man rose to international popularity after winning the 2004 Grand National with Amberleigh House. He is multi-disciplinary as well. Lee changed to Flat in 2012 from jumping and went on to clinch the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot. Although he has suffered injuries previously as well, the Newcastle one is the severest of all. Lee was unmounted from his horse Ben Macdui on Friday as the stalls opened and suffered a serious spinal cord injury.

The 2015 Gold Cup winner was about to compete in the BetUK, Home Of The Acca-Fenwa. As the stalls opened at the Newcastle Racehorse, Lee was unseated from his horse and fell to the ground. He was immediately taken to Royal Victoria Infirmary by ambulance and was placed in the intensive care unit.


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Although there hasn’t been any confirmation yet on the injury, it was reported he would undergo tests to determine the extent of the injury. “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. This is a very serious injury and, at this early time, it is not possible to predict the extent of long-term recovery“, Lee’z fund said in a statement.

The 47-year-old’s horse raced riderless, eventually losing the race at the end. The BetUK race was later won by Zufolo. As Lee continues to battle for his life in the ICU, equestrian enthusiasts across the globe would be praying for a speedy recovery. Unfortunately, they have more jockeys to pray for as the challenging year for jockeys continues.


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Horse Racing community suffers two more fall

The unfortunate injuries in horse racing aren’t stopping with another two jockeys falling over in the past weeks. The Longines International Jockeys Championship is one of the prestigious events and champion rider Hugh Bowman will unfortunately miss the event. Bowman suffered a disastrous fall at Sha Tin and suffered fractures in his right shoulder and three vertebrae.

READ MORE: US Equestrian Reveals 2023 Prestigious Competition and Training Grant Recipients


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As if these incidents weren’t frustrating enough, the 19-year-old teenage Jockey nearly missed death after a horrific fall on Sunday. Lachlan Scorse fell from his horse among 3 others at the New South Wales racetrack. While the other 3 Jockeys suffered minor injuries and recovered well, Scorse was placed in an induced coma. Fortunately, he is recovering well now and breathing on his own.

Watch The Story: Essential Mistakes to Steer Clear of When Riding a Horse for the First Time


Written by:

Zahid Rashid Dar


One take at a time

Zahid is a US sports writer at EssentiallySports. His lifelong passion for sports, particularly the Olympics, has been a driving force in his writing journey with ES. Zahid began his career at EssentiallySports by covering swimming and gymnastics, where he provides valuable insights, technicality and analysis in his articles.
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Edited by:

Suman Varandani