Photographer escapes horror fall

Thu, 15 Mar 15:02:00 2012

A photographer has escaped with only minor injuries after a horrifying incident at the Cheltenham Festival.

2012 Cheltenham Wishfull Thinking - 0

Wishfull Thinking crashed through the rails into a group of snappers after refusing spectacularly in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

Frenchman Jean-Charles Briens (pictured in the foreground, photo below) bore the brunt of the collision as the horse tumbled, and took a nasty kick to the mouth, for which he needed stitches.

Briens and jockey Richard Johnson were taken to hospital in ambulances, but both were released on Wednesday night.

Johnson suffered bad bruising after the horse landed on him, but returned to racing action on Thursday. The race was won by Finian's Rainbow, ridden by Barry Geraghty.

A photographer has escaped with only minor injuries after a horrifying incident at the Cheltenham Festival. - 2 Briens's fellow photographer Dan Abraham told the Racing Post: "The horse seemed to roll over and flip into the photographers and members of the public were there as well.

"The horse seemed to kick Jean-Charles in the face, it was really nasty. He is a French photographer who has been coming for years and he is very experienced.

"It was a freak accident, I've hardly ever seen that happen. We are close to the action and we know the dangers. We are conscious of what can happen but that was a freak.

"We have a double rail down there, which keeps us apart from the horses when they are jumping, but the problem is that those horses are very close to you.

"We have got remote cameras but we are trying to get close as we want the best pictures. It's difficult but we have safety measures on every racecourse."

A photographer has escaped with only minor injuries after a horrifying incident at the Cheltenham Festival. - 3

However, these spectacular images show the photographers' dangerous work was not in vain.

Wishfull Thinking was reported to be shaken but not seriously hurt, though five horses died on the first two days of racing at Cheltenham.

After three fatalities on Tuesday, two followed in Wednesday's Coral Cup.

Featherbed Lane suffered a broken leg while running, and Abergavenny fractured a leg falling at the third jump. Both horses were euthanised.

A photographer has escaped with only minor injuries after a horrifying incident at the Cheltenham Festival. - 4

Eurosport

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