David McWilliam
Partner, Solicitor and Head of Personal Injury & Sports Law
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Date Published:23 Dec 2021 Last Updated:18 Jan 2022

Freddy Tylicki Case – What are the implications for horse racing?

Sports Law

On 21st December 2021, jockey Freddy Tylicki won his High Court case against fellow jockey, Graham Gibbons for negligent riding which resulted in a fall leaving him with life changing injuries. The fall happened at Kempton Park on 31st October 2016 and left Tylicki partially paralysed and in a wheelchair.

His legal team argued that Gibbons manoeuvred his horse into the path of Terlecki’s horse which was running into a gap between his horse and the edge of the track in a negligent manner. Gibbons denied riding negligently.

Judge Walden-Smith found in Tyrik’s favour and ruled that Gibbons “had a reckless disregard for Mr Terlecki’s safety.” The Judge considered that it was more likely than not that Gibbons was aware of Terlecki’s presence before the fall and “he knew, or at least ought to have known, that Mr Terlecki was inside on the rail and had moved up to within half a length. He exerted real pressure on the right hand rein of his horse in order to bring her across Tyrik’s racing line and did not stop bringing her in close to the rail even after the first collision……this was a sufficient period of time for a skilled jockey to make decisions.”

The Judge did add that “In making that finding (of negligence), I stress that the threshold of liability for negligence is a high one and has been determined as made out in this case, on its own particular facts. The finding does not set a precedent either within horse racing or in sport generally.”

The amount of damages will de decided at a separate hearing although it is likely that these will be decided between the parties. The amount of damages claimed is up to £6 million.

The decision has sent shock waves through the racing world. It is the first time a jockey has successfully claimed damages against another jockey for an incident like this. Insurers will now be looking very carefully at the policies and whether or not to grant indemnity and cover to jockeys in the future with the risk of huge claims on the policies. If jockeys cannot get insurance, they will be racing uninsured and if another incident like this happens, the injured party is likely to be left with recourse and with no financial assistance to deal with lengthy rehabilitation, aids and equipment.

Contact our Sports Law team for all sports related enquiries today on 01202 525333 or email david.mcwilliam@ellisjones.co.uk. You can also contact our Equine department by emailing equinelaw@ellisjones.co.uk.