‘Legend’ December Second fatal accident at Newcastle


  • Quote: ‘December Second was one of Phil’s favourite horses, riding him out himself. He will remain a legend in our eyes’.

By Andrew Atkinson

Philip Kirby trained December Second suffered a fatal injury in the Betway Handicap Class 3 over 1 mile 4 furlongs at Newcastle’s all weather track at Gosforth Park on June 1.

Following the tragedy there has been a plethora of messages of sympathy sent to Philip Kirby racing stables, based at Green Oaks in Richmond, North Yorkshire.

Philip’s wife, Pippa said: “Thank you all so much for your very kind words and messages following such an upsetting day at Newcastle, which was handled so well by their excellent vets on course.

“December was a much loved horse by his owner David Platt, our team and ourselves – he will never be forgotten.”

December Second, ridden by P. J. McDonald took a fall in running, and screens were placed on the scene thereafter.

McDonald and fellow jockey

Jim Crowley, were both attended to by medics after the incident, with Crowley saying he was ‘shaken, but feels fine.’

Six year old December Second won at Haydock Park, Huntingdon and Ayr in 2019, finishing second at Hamilton Park, Doncaster and Goodwood.

Pippa added: “He had such talent and a love of racing. Who can forget those effortless bumper wins, or that stunning Flat win at Haydock Park?

“He was one of Phil’s favourite horses, riding him out himself, and he’ll remain a legend in our eyes.”

A spokesperson for the British Horseracing Authority said following the incident: “We are all deeply saddened about the loss of December Second this afternoon.

“No one will be more affected by this than the trainer Phil Kirby, the owners and the stable staff who provided the horse with first-class care throughout his life.

“Equine welfare has been an important consideration in our planning to return, for example there have been limits placed on field sizes as part of the sport’s resumption of racing strategy, but it is impossible to remove risk altogether.

“On average a horse falls once in every 1,000 runners in Flat races. Statistics shows that horses are more likely to suffer injury at home in a field than on a Flat racecourse, and at the racecourse our horses have access to the best possible care. December Second was treated by vets, within seconds of his fall.”

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