Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Two Years Since the Fall - Anthony Delpech

Two Years Since the Fall - Anthony Delpech

Anthony Delpech - jockey

Former jockey Anthony Delpech  provides a personal look back to SA Classic Day two years ago, and the tragic fall that ended his riding career.

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Looking Back

Two years ago today, Saturday 7th April 2018, my life changed forever. This was the day I fell off Majestic Mambo during the SA Classic at Turffontein.

Sometimes in racing, there are decisions you make and you get away with. This was one split decision I made, and it ended my career.

Fall
The fall as it happened...

The Fall

I can remember just before we turned into the straight, I was going extremely well.

The horse on my outside was actually struggling, and I was ¾ of a length on his inside. For me to go on his outside, obviously I had to pull my horse back and go around him, and I felt I would have lost the race if I had done that.

So instead, I patiently waited for running room to open, and as I felt the room was there (and I had so much horse), I thought it was fine to have a go.

However, as soon as I started to go for my run, the horse on my inside started moving outward, and by the time I noticed him, it was too late for me to try and get out of it. My horse clipped heels and I went down.

Watch the race replay here.

Anthony Delpech in hospital Anthony Delpech in hospital

The Hospital

When I was taken from the course, I was ambulanced to casualty, instead of the trauma unit (which was a mistake). My arms were 3 times the size they were normally before they performed a MRI scan.

The doctor in casualty actually wanted to discharge me that night. Despite me vomiting from the concussion, the doctor still insisted, “I’ve told you from the x-ray nothing is wrong. You can go home.”

Subsequent medical examinations revealed my injuries were much more serious than first thought and I was diagnosed with a disc herniation and a damaged spinal cord.

It took 3 days after I was hospitalized before they would operate on me. Had the pressure been released on my spine earlier, I wouldn’t be experiencing the nerve pain I still have today.

My biggest disappointment was that if everything had been handled properly from the racecourse to the hospital, I would probably still be riding today.

Anthony Delpech on Vengeance of Rain
Anthony Delpech waves to the crowd on Vengeance of Rain

Retirement

At the time of the accident, I was well clear in that year’s Jockey Championship title race with 136 winners, and was riding at the top of my game.

Earlier on that Classic Day, I had ridden BOLD EAGLE to victory in the Grade 3 Protea Stakes. Unfortunately for me, that would be the last winner I would ride in my career.

I attempted to make a comeback to the saddle in January 2019, where I managed to work a few horses at Summerveld. I felt good, but a few days after, the nerve pain became unbearable.

Subsequent advice from my doctor spelled out that continuing to ride would aggravate my difficulties and could leave me with permanent damage.

Therefore, I took the hardest decision in my life, and decided to retire from riding.

Anthony Delpech and Candice Delpech
Anthony and Candice Delpech

A Bright Future

Two years down the line, I’ve decided to look at the positive things in my life. If things had gone differently, I could have ended up in a wheelchair (or worse). I still have my life. I still have my health. And more importantly I still have my three beautiful children and wife who have been such an incredible support.

And finally, after two years, I have found what I am truly passionate about doing. Joining my new team at Hollywoodbets is my new passion. Being their new horse racing ambassador and assisting with their horses, I get to be back on course, back at the stables, and back rubbing shoulders with the people in the industry I love. It’s part of what I know, and more importantly part of who I am.

They say in life there is a second chapter, and this is the second chapter in my life! The future is bright, and I look forward to the ride!

Anthony Delpech - Hollywoodbets Brand Ambassador
Anthony Delpech in his new role with Hollywoodbets and the Hollywood Syndicate

View more articles featuring Anthony Delpech here.

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