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Kieren Fallon’s daughter in emotional tribute after jockey boyfriend dies following fall

Kieran Fallon's daughter in emotional tribute to jockey boyfriend who has died at 23 following fall
Stefano Cherchi sustained a head injury and internal bleeding following a fall while riding in Australia - PA/Simon Marper

Kieren Fallon’s daughter Brittany has paid an emotional tribute to her boyfriend Stefano Cherchi, the popular Italian rider, who has died a fortnight after a fall race-riding in Australia.

She had been at his bedside in Canberra since he sustained serious head injuries in the fall on March 20. The 25-year-old, whose father is the six-time champion flat jockey, said on social media: “Life will never be the same. I’ll love you forever, thank you for showing me the most passionate kind of love I could have only ever imagined,”

Cherchi, who was 23, rode over 100 winners as an apprentice in Britain. Born in Sardinia, Cherchi was following in the wake of other Italian jockeys Frankie Dettori and Andrea Atzeni by coming to Britain to forge his career. At the age of 16, he joined Newmarket-based Italian trainer Marco Botti for whom he went on to ride 38 winners and spent the last 18 months of his apprenticeship with Amy Murphy.

He went out to Australia for the winter and was due to decide on whether he would stay or come back to Britain in the next month or so. But after the fall, he never regained consciousness.

“It’s incredibly sad,” said Murphy. “He was a fabulous guy. No one had anything but good to say about him. It’s hard to put into words - life can be so cruel. The world was his oyster and he had his whole life ahead of him and here we are talking about him today. My heart goes out to his family.”

The Professional Jockeys Association put out a statement saying: “The PJA and our members are devastated to hear the news from Australia of Stefano’s passing. As well as being a gifted rider, Stefano was immensely popular in the weighing room due to his humility, kindness and sense of humour. He was very much loved and will be missed even more.

“Our thoughts, prayers and deepest condolences are with his partner Brittany, his family, friends and colleagues.”

In 2009 an institute in Tasmania rated being a professional jockey in Australia as the most hazardous occupation with the exception of off-shore fishing and, whether it is firmer ground or that they ride tighter, there remains a fatality rate which was still as high as 1.4 per year in 2015. In one 14-month spell in 2013-14, four young female jockeys died as a result of racing falls. The last fatality before Cherchi was light-weight jockey Dean Holland who was killed in a fall at Donald a year ago.

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