Horror as jockey, 25, dies after falling from horse at Kent race in front of spectators

  • Keagan Kirkby crashed in the final race at Charing Racecourse today
  • Worked for champion trainer Paul Nicholls who was left ‘devastated’ by his death

A jockey has died after falling from a horse at a race in Kent in front of horrified spectators.

Keagan Kirkby (25) was thrown from his horse during the last race at Charing Racecourse today.

The on-track medical team rushed to his side and an air ambulance was also called as they battled to save his life.

Kirkby worked for champion trainer Paul Nicholls who was left ‘devastated’ by his death.

He wrote on X: ‘Life is so hard sometimes, winners totally insignificant compared to what happened today.

Keagan Kirkby (25) (pictured right next to champion trainer Paul Nicholls) died after being thrown from his horse in Kent in front of horrified spectators

Keagan Kirkby (25) (pictured right next to champion trainer Paul Nicholls) died after being thrown from his horse in Kent in front of horrified spectators

Kirkby worked for champion trainer Nicholls who was left 'devastated' by his death

Kirkby worked for champion trainer Nicholls who was left ‘devastated’ by his death

‘Unfortunately Keagan Kirby, one of our best, hard working boys, lost his life today with a point to point.

‘Everyone at Team Ditcheat is horrified. Thoughts with all his friends and family.

“He was passionate about his work and his riding and rode Afadil every day.”

X, formerly Twitter, has been inundated with tributes in Kirkby’s memory.

British Horseracing Authority chief executive Julie Harrington released a statement saying they ‘devastated to hear the tragic news’.

‘Our thoughts are with his family and friends, and all with the estate of Paul Nicholls. The entire Racing industry will be mourning the loss of someone so young and with so much potential.

‘The prestige in which he is held is evident from the fact that he was nominated for the Rider/Groom category of the 2024 Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards, making it to the final 10 in his category.

‘The nomination spoke to Keagan’s qualities as a thoughtful rider who develops a personal bond with his horses, understands their characters and adapts his riding accordingly, as well as his friendly, helpful nature and popularity on the site.

“We urge everyone to respect the privacy of Keagan’s family and the Paul Nicholls site.”

A statement from the Injured Jockeys’ Fund said: ‘It is with deep sadness that we have to report that West Country point-to-point rider Keagan Kirkby, 25, has died following a fall at Charing point-to-point -point in Kent today.

‘His horse, who was trained locally, ran out through the wing of a fence on the second course of the last race.

Kirkby was thrown from his horse during the last race at Charing Racecourse (Photo not from today's race)

Kirkby was thrown from his horse during the last race at Charing Racecourse (Photo not from today’s race)

‘The medical team who were on track attended immediately and despite additional support from a 999 helicopter emergency service crew, he could not be saved.

‘Keagan was a respected member of the Paul Nicholls team, having joined in 2019 and was named Employee of the Month in December 2021.

‘He was shortlisted for the Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards in the Rider / Groom category 2024.

‘We kindly ask that everyone respects the privacy of Keagan’s family and the team at Paul Nicholls Racing at this tragic time.’