‘Absolutely brilliant’ Sir AP McCoy saves life of fallen jockey in Lambourn

AP McCoy was watching the session at the Seven Barrows stable of trainer Nicky Henderson

Credit: PA

Sir Anthony McCoy was hailed for his “absolutely brilliant” lifesaving skills on Thursday after James Bowen had been knocked unconscious in a fall during schooling in Lambourn.

The former champion jockey was watching the session at the Seven Barrows stable of trainer Nicky Henderson when Bowen’s mount fell at a hurdle.

McCoy was first to tend to Bowen and helped force his mouth open to ensure he did not choke. The stricken jockey was taken to Great Western Hospital, Swindon, where he later received the all-clear.

The incident means Bowen will miss the ride on Henderson’s Mister Fisher, in the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day. He will be replaced by his brother, Sean.

Speaking about the fall, Henderson said: “It was horrendous and very scary. He was knocked out and the man who gets the medical medal is AP. He was absolutely brilliant.

“There were about six of us looking after him. He was unconscious and choking. AP had to get his mouth open which was proving extremely difficult. I am surprised he has any fingers left on his hands.

“James has been into the hospital and had scans and amazingly everything is OK. We had schooled about 40 horses and it was the second last to school. It was right in front of us – we were stood by that hurdle.

“He [Bowen] is going to be out for a while. His brother, who is only just back from injury will ride Mister Fisher and Mister Coffey for us on Boxing Day.

“James’s mum picked him up and is taking him home for Christmas. He can have some Christmas pudding this year!”

Bowen, who has stepped into the role of second jockey to Henderson while Jerry McGrath is injured, had been having a terrific season, with 42 winners, but he will now have to sit out the busy holiday period with a mandatory three weeks on the sidelines.

James Bowen (centre) was taken to Great Western Hospital, Swindon, where he later received the all-clear

Credit: PA

Bowen created history by becoming the youngest jockey to win the Welsh National when, aged 16, he rode Raz de Maree to victory in 2017 and went on to become champion conditional jockey, breaking the previous record for winners set by his brother.

Meanwhile, nine horses were declared for the King George, one of the sporting highlights of the holiday period. With good-to-soft going predicted, Dashel Drasher, who needs proper soft ground, was the only horse to come out of the race at yesterday’s stage.

This makes Henry de Bromhead’s Gold Cup winner Minella Indo, the mount of the all-conquering Rachael Blackmore, the 5-2 favourite, knocking Clan Des Obeaux, favourite earlier in the week, off top spot.

The bookmaker also reported good money for Chantry House, Henderson’s first string, who is now a 9-2 shot, and the Willie Mullins-trained grey Asterion Forlonge has been well backed and is now 11-2.

Nicola McGeady, of Ladbrokes, said: “Minello Indo supporters are starting to emerge in the lead up to the race. He’s a Gold Cup winner with the most popular jockey on board, so it’ll be no surprise to see his price shorten.”

The Ladbrokes Kauto Star Chase has attracted just four runners but they include two of the best young staying chasers, Bravemansgame and, from Scotland, runaway Newbury winner Ahoy Senor.

Epatante, the former champion hurdler, heads a small but select field of five for the Christmas Hurdle. She was beaten in this race at 1-5 a year ago but won it the year before on her way to Cheltenham glory.

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