A RYEDALE trainer recovering from a double-fracture of his neck in a freak accident considers himself lucky that his injuries are not even more serious.

Brian Rothwell, who is based in Norton, was feeding horses in a field, when one of them spooked and took flight and he was knocked over.

“I knew straight away that something wasn’t right,” he said. “To be honest, my main concern at that stage was my leg where one of the horses had stood on me, as it was very sore.”

It transpired that Rothwell, who was initially taken to York District Hospital before being transferred to Hull Royal Infirmary, had fractured his T2 and T3 vertebrae in the accident, which happened a month ago. “They looked after me very well. It was decided that I didn’t need an operation, but instead they would fit me with something to keep everything in place.”

Rothwell is now required to wear a halo – a body-brace, fitted with a metal head-piece – 24 hours a day for three months before further examination takes place.

“I am not able to do much in it – I can only supervise – and because I can’t take it off, even at night, it makes sleeping quite difficult,” explained the popular trainer, who, earlier this week, was at Redcar, where he had runners on both days of the Zetland Gold Cup meeting.

Rothwell is philosophical about his current situation. “I think I’ve been lucky,” he said. “I’m able to walk about and not everyone who suffers a spinal injury is able to do that. When you think about it, the difference is fractions of inches, so it’s best not to think too much about what might have been.”


• JOHN QUINN is set to order his top hat and morning suit in readiness for Royal Ascot, courtesy of a flying two-year-old, who made an impressive racecourse debut at Ayr last week.

The Wow Signal, a son of Starspangledbanner and bought for £50,000 at the Ascot breeze-up sales a couple of months ago by Sean Quinn, the trainer’s son and assistant, ran his rivals ragged in Scotland when winning by nine lengths. Unsurprisingly, his Highfield trainer rates him highly.

“We think he’s very good and his next run will be in the Coventry Stakes,” said Quinn, eyeing up one of the signature juvenile events of next month’s Royal Ascot extravaganza.

Richard Fahey, whose Parbold finished second in last year’s Coventry, has another bumper crop of two-year-olds and the Malton trainer, who last week went through the 50-winner barrier for the season, sent out three of them to score in under 24 hours at the weekend.

Elusive Epona made a winning debut at Musselburgh on Friday evening, just before Bond’s Girl and Paddy Mathers won the feature juvenile race at Pontefract to make it two wins from two outings this term, while the following afternoon at Beverley Diamond Creek came good at the first time of asking for Fahey. Tony Hamilton, rider of Elusive Epona and Diamond Creek, completed a Beverley double aboard the year-older Spiceupyourlife to continue his excellent winning run.


• NO sooner had Neville Bycroft broken the ice for the season at Newcastle than he quickly multiplied his score before last week was out. Little wonder that the 11-horse Norton trainer said, “Winners are likes buses. There isn’t one for a while and then several come along at once!”

Bycroft, who got off the mark with Adiator, ridden by Adam Carter at Newcastle, followed-up with a double at Beverley on Saturday, thanks to the Andrew Elliott-ridden Maybeme, who was notching her fifth course win, and Willbeme, who justified evens favouritism and was partnered by Silvestre de Sousa, who was renewing past acquaintances with the veteran handler. In 2006, de Sousa, who was then only beginning to make a name for himself, won the richly-endowed Redcar Two-Year-Old Trophy for Bycroft on Danum Dancer

Nigel Tinkler is another Ryedale trainer to have recently experienced a turning of the tide. The Langton handler posted his first win of the turf season with Tinsill at Redcar last week and doubled-up at Pontefract last Friday evening with Teetotal, another de Sousa mount, and a horse who seems to relish Pontefract’s stiff uphill finish. It was the sprinter’s third course success.


• JASON HART is now only two winners short of losing his claim after enjoying a purple patch in recent weeks. Last season’s champion apprentice, who is attached to the Sledmere yard of Declan Carroll, rode a double at Ayr last week, a feat matched by Ryedale-born teenager Jack Garritty, son for former jump jockey Russ, and sponsored by Malton’s White Rose Saddlery, who was gaining his first twin-strike. Both of Garritty’s winners were trained by Jim Goldie near Glasgow.


• PASSIONATE about golf? Want to support a good cause? Then ring the date of Tuesday June 10th in your diary and get along to Sandburn Golf Club near Flaxton before 1pm tee-off time for the Jack Berry House Charity Golf Day in aid of the state-of-the-art Injured Jockeys Fund facility currently being built in Old Malton.

The organizers are Gloria Charnock and her husband, former leading Ryedale jockey Lindsay, and they are working hard to make the event as much a success as it was last year when a cheque of £5,300 was handed over to Jack Berry House, following a competition which attracted 18 teams of four players, and a grand auction, and which was highlighted by the presence of Manchester Utd stalwart Paul Scholes, who not only took part, but who donated a framed shirt signed by many of his fellow star names at Old Trafford.

“Unfortunately, because of other commitments, Paul can’t come this year,” said Gloria, “but we are anticipating that it’s going to be a very successful day again. Kieren Fallon has promised us some stuff from his 2,000 Guineas win on Night Of Thunder to auction and Silvestre de Sousa is giving us a signed pair of breeches.”

Many of the players who took part last year are again set to make an appearance, but Charnock points out that there are still a few places available. “We can take 21 teams and have room at the moment for another four teams of four,” she said. Among her helpers are Ryedale trainers Nigel Tinkler and Brian Ellison, who also proved very supportive last year.

The price of entering a team of four is £200 (£50 a player), which also includes an evening buffet. For non-players who are keen to attend the event and wish to spectate and take in the buffet, the price is £10 per head.

“Everything is taking shape now, but I am always keen to hear from anyone who would like to support us in any way, either in sponsorship or donating a prize for the auction,” said Gloria.

Further details can be obtained from her on gloriacharnock@hotmail.com