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Let's honour Keagan Kirkby with a posthumous award he so deserved

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IT’S impossible to start this column without sad reflection.

Over the weekend, the sport took its toll on those who love the game, and those who need the game to exist.

Nicholls and Cobden, as well as many others, have been left devastated by the death of Kirkby

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Nicholls and Cobden, as well as many others, have been left devastated by the death of Kirkby

Rider Keagan Kirkby died after a fall at Charing point-to-point on Sunday. He was 25 and a key part of the Paul Nicholls’ team.

In Italy, Polish jockey Dominik Pastuszka, 35, passed away after an accident in Pisa. Dominik’s mount War Brave collided with an obstacle.

Both Kirkby and Pastuszka loved the game.

Hermes Allen was bred to race. But the equine star was killed at Sandown over the weekend. Absolute Nations and Getagin lost their lives at Musselburgh.

There is nothing I can say to ease the pain of those closest to Keagan and Dominik, or to those who lived with the three horses.

But I would like to say thank you to all of them for loving a sport I adore and being part of it. It’s a family this game, for all the in-fighting.

I would sincerely hope that those in charge of the 2024 Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards, for which Keagan had been nominated for the rider/groom category, would on this occasion create a posthumous award just for Keagan.

I’m sure, in the future, his family would appreciate that. It’s quite clear that he deserves it.

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Meanwhile, on the track there was one horse at the Dublin Racing Festival that really caught my eye and got no attention at all.

Ethical Diamond finished sixth behind Kargese in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown on Saturday but the gelding went straight into my notebook.

An in-running comment of ‘held up in rear, not fluent two out, soon headway, keeping on when jumped slightly left and not fluent last, not reach leaders’ tells a little of the story.

Basically the maiden hurdle winner ran a belter at 50-1, and he might be very interesting in a handicap on the back of this run.

Valentine’s Day is around the corner – so how about treating someone to a day at the races VIP style?

That’s now a possibility, thanks to Sports4Causes, who can offer the “Owners Raceday Experience” to any racing enthusiasts who wish to gain insight into a day in the life of an owner.

This is not some money making scam, this is a project I fully support because the aim is to get more people to the races and hopefully turn them into racegoers.

Badges can be bought for the following fixtures:

Doncaster – Thursday 8 February
Newbury – Saturday 10 February – Betfair Hurdle
Several Lingfield AW fixtures on both weekend and weekday availability
Ascot – Saturday 17 February – Betfair Ascot Chase Day Meeting
Plumpton – Monday 26th February

Plus many more fixtures including racecourses Hexham, Newcastle and Goodwood.

Half of the money you spend goes straight to the charity Racing Welfare, so on all levels everyone is a winner.

If you fancy having a great day at the races ‘owner’ style just go to www.sports4causes.co.uk.

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