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Subject: Racing mourns the death of Kieran Kelly

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Date Posted: 21:06:29 08/13/03 Wed
Author Host/IP: n218103168053.netvigator.com/

by Michael Clower

Kieran Kelly, who suffered severe head injuries in a fall at Kilbeggan last Friday evening, died last night in Dublins Beaumont Hospital. He was 25.
Racing at Gowran Park last night was called off before the last as a mark of respect once news of the decision to turn off his life-support machine became known.

The loss was greeted with great sadness at Gowran Park. Kellys weighing room colleague Barry Geraghty, fighting back tears, said: I didnt think this could ever happen.?

Fellow rider RubyWalsh added: Kieran was a proper man and a proper jockey and we have asked for the rest of the meeting to be called off as a mark of respect to him and his family.?

John Cullen, who rode in the race in which Kelly fell, said: Nothing could describe how badly I feel now.
I am as low as I have ever been because he was one of the lads, one of the nicest in the weighing room.?

Kelly suffered his injuries when he was kicked on the head and rolled on when the Dessie Hughes-trained Balmy Native fell with him at the fifth last fence in the Joe Cooney Memorial Handicap Chase.

A native of Carbury in County Kildare, Kelly was apprenticed to Mickey Flynn and joined Hughes as stable jockey when Flynn gave up training.
His best season was 2000/01 with 32 wins, but his biggest victory came in this years Royal &SunAlliance Novices?Hurdle on the Hughes-trained Hardy Eustace.

Kelly had shown himself to be a match for anyone in the saddle when riding Hardy Eustace to a 6-1 victory at the Festival in March. In one of the best renewals of the race in recent years, Kelly got his mount back into contention having been outpaced four out.

Striking for the front at the penultimate hurdle, Kelly and his mount fought off the tenacious challenges of both the subsequently disqualified Coolnagorna and Pizarro to land the spoils.

Of that ride, he said: They were quickening all the way down the back, but they never got away from him. I didnt want to be in front that soon, but I
didnt want to disappoint him.?

Kelly had also ridden Hardy Eustace to victory in the Grade 1 Royal Bond Hurdle at Fairyhouse earlier in the season.

He had his first ride in the Martell Grand National in 2001 aboard the Martin Pipe-trained Dark Stranger, but his mount was badly hampered and refused at the Canal Turn on the first circuit.

Kelly did partner this years Aintree hero Montys Pass to victory in a handicap chase at Tipperary in May 2001. Other leading horses he rode included Colonel Braxton, Rathbawn Prince and Timbera.

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