Ireland’s jockeys still have no indemnity insurance cover

Jockeys’ body trying since Freddy Tylicki case at end of 2021 to get personal liability cover

Over a year after the landmark Freddy Tylicki case there is still no indemnity insurance cover in place for Ireland’s jockeys.

Tylicki succeeded in a £6 million case for damages against another Irish rider Graham Gibbons that concluded in a London High Court in late 2021.

Gibbons was found liable for an incident at Kempton in 2016 that resulted in a fall which left Tylicki paralysed from the waist down.

The case highlighted how, unlike their cross-channel based colleagues, riders in Ireland aren’t covered for personal liability.


The Irish Jockeys Association (IJA) has described the Tylicki incident as a potential “game changer” in terms of how racing’s interference rules are implemented.

It has also said there is failure on both sides of the Irish Sea to appreciate the broader significance of the case in terms of jockeys possibly suing colleagues for damages in the case of personal injuries.

The IJA’s secretary, former amateur jockey and solicitor Andrew Coonan, has confirmed the long-running search for insurance cover for his members has been fruitless to date.

He also said the matter continues to be an “industry issue” that must include both Horse Racing Ireland and the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board in terms of financing any cover for jockeys.

“We are talking and trying to get something in place that would work, but at this point in time, given the very difficult insurance market, the answer is no,” Coonan said when asked if after a year’s efforts insurance cover is in place.

“We have had various people talk to us about the possibilities about what’s available, or what might be available, without necessarily putting figures on that yet.

“But essentially, the background work is to try and see what cover we need, and how we can get it, and what markets are available to provide that. It all remains very much outstanding,” he added.

The issue is complicated by limited insurance options in this country with the IJA forced to look internationally for quotes.

Last year Coonan predicted a similar case to Tylicki would occur here, pointing out: “It’s not something we can just leave sitting there and say let’s hope it never happens here. Because as sure as night follows day it will.”

He said: “Nothing I have seen has changed my thinking on that. Its still, in my view, a very important issue that has not yet been resolved.”

Freezing overnight conditions means action at Tuesday’s rescheduled Clonmel fixture relies on the track passing a 7.30 morning inspection.

Should it get a green light very much the ‘talking horse’ on show will be Gaelic Warrior in a two-mile conditions hurdle.

The Willie Mullins-trained horse threw away his chance of Cheltenham Festival glory last March when despite persistently jumping right he only failed by a short head to Brazil.

Having returned to action with a facile wide-margin victory at Tramore last month, his potential remains very much untapped.

A general 7-1 shot for Cheltenham’s Ballymore, Gaelic Warrior is also a 4-1 favourite for next year’s Betfair Hurdle at Newbury.

The new timing of the Clonmel fixture means he will only pick up a 5lb penalty should he win on Tuesday which, in theory, he ought to manage easily.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column