Point-to-point jockey James McNeile dies after Larkhill fall

James McNeile Image copyright David Simpson
Image caption James McNeile died peacefully on Sunday, his family said

A 57-year-old amateur jockey has died after falling from his horse and hitting his head on a fence.

James McNeile, from Devizes, Wiltshire, suffered brain damage when he fell in the 15:45 race at Larkhill point-to-point on Saturday.

He died peacefully on Sunday, his family said.

"James died competing in a sport he loved, and around which he had built his life and some wonderful friendships," the family added.

'Element of risk'

Jockey David Crosse paid tribute to McNeile, tweeting: "Devastated about my good buddy James McNeile passing. Always smiling and went doing what he loved. May he RIP."

Trainer Martin Keighley added: "Such sad news. Thoughts with his family and friends."

In a joint statement the British Horseracing Authority, the Point to Point Authority, the Larkhill Point to Point racecourse and the Committee of the Avon Vale Hunt said its thoughts were with Mr McNeile's family and friends.

"Tragic incidents such as this are exceptionally rare. However, for athletes competing in any sport, there is an element of risk that cannot be wholly removed.

"What is important is that, from any incident such as this is, we do all that we can to understand what caused it, and then see if there is anything we can learn from the incident.

"These processes are already under way."

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