Horse Racing

Racing’s most brutal jockey fights from love triangle bust-ups to mid-race punch-ups, ‘kill’ threats and whip lashings

THE stakes are high in racing, with millions of pounds on the line and half-ton animals going break-neck speed around a track.

Throw in the dangers of jumps, a lifetime of dieting and the will to win, and it’s easy to see why tempers can boil over.

Jockeys have seen their blood boil and tempers flare to the point of violence more than a few times over the years

But even so, the rage and anger that engulfs some jockeys is simply hard to believe.

Ahead of this week’s Grand National, we look at some of the most jaw-dropping jockey fights.

Love triangle bust-up

Natalie Lye was banned for 12 months after fracturing the eye socket of a rival who she accused of trying to steal her man.

Crystal Conning was left with severe bruising after Lye went for her in the changing rooms at Hawkesbury Race Club in Australia in 2016.

Lye, right, was banned for 12 months for beating up a rival as part of an alleged love triangle

The argument is said to have started after Lye found text messages between Conning and her fiance, Dean Singleton.

The stewards’ report stated the charge was based on allegations Lye told Conning words to the effect of: “Who do you think you are trying to steal my husband.

“You’re just a whore. When my shoulder is better and we are not at the races I’ll sort you out.

“You will never be able to go out again. You will always be looking over your shoulder thinking I’m going to kill you.”

Lye was found guilty of ‘improper conduct’ and disqualified for a year.

Shocking ‘kill’ threat

Three-time Kentucky Derby winner Calvin Borel and Javier Castellano had to be pulled apart after tempers flared at the end of the £380,000 Breeders’ Cup Marathon at Churchill Downs in 2010.

And American Borel, now 54, was so incensed that he pleaded with security to release him so he could ‘kill’ his rival.

The fight between Borel and Castellano is racing’s most famous bust up

The winners’ enclosure bust-up started when Borel – regarded as calm and mild-mannered – waited for Castellano, who stands just 5ft 1ins, after the race.

He was furious about a mid-race move.

The fight was captured on camera – with Borel’s eye-bulging anger stunning viewers – as racegoers intervened to try to break it up.

Both traded insults as they went back to the weighing room before Borel eventually apologised.

Mid-race punch up

Erluis Vaz copped a 200-day ban for punching a rival during a race.

The astonishing fight happened as Vaz and rival Ademar Santos raced next to each other at an American track in 2010.

It all started when Vaz’s mount veered to the outside and collided with Santos’ horse.

The jockeys exhanged abuse during the race before Vaz punched Santos, who then retaliated with a shot of his own.

The jockeys could be seen throwing punches at each other mid-race
The race went on around the riders as they had a punch up

Vaz then slashed Santos with his whip – and the footage went viral online.

Whip crack and anger management classes

Jockey Natalie Turner was suspended for 30 days after stewards found she ‘intentionally and deliberately struck at another rider with her crop’.

She retaliated after rival Freddy Jose Manrrique-Guerrero struck her more than once coming off a bend in a race.

Manrrique-Guerrero was also made to attend anger management classes after the race at Will Rogers Downs in May 2016.

Police break up brawl

Bitter rivals James Flores and Omar Reyes had to be broken up by a cop after they started fighting in the jockeys’ room.

Stunned riders watched as Flores, in white silks, and Reyes exchanged punches.

A cop had to intervene to break up the pair
The astonishing fight took place in the jockeys’ changing room

Flores then got his rival in a headlock before Reyes hit back with a series of jabs to the head.

Reyes then tried to kick Flores before catching the cop with a glancing blow during the 2018 bust-up.

Owner attacks jockey

David Reynolds was fined £10,000 for an ‘unprovoked assault’ on jockey Kieran Fallon at Surrey track Lingfield in 2010.

Reynolds punched Fallon in the face because he blamed Fallon’s horse from stopping his own from winning.

The raging owner was deemed to have ‘pushed through’ those in the unsaddling enclosure before ‘striking Fallon on the side of his face’ by a British Horseracing Authority panel.

Another owner, Peter Crane, tried to intervene only to get whacked as well.

Fight over a one-eyed horse

A jockey was attacked by a rival who believed he had been ‘cut up’ while riding his one-eyed horse.

William Buick was confronted at the race track by pal Joey Haynes before police were called.

SunSport told you cops were called for a second time by Buick, 32, who feared a man was parked in a car outside his £1.9million mansion.

The two riders, who weigh in at a little over 8st, clashed after a race at Lingfield.

Buick cuts across Haynes, leading to a furious bust-up that saw cops called to Lingfield Park in Surrey

Footage shows Buick’s mount Folk Magic, the 11-8 favourite but which finished fourth, shifting to the left.

It impeded the progress of Haynes’ horse, Artisan Bleu, a 250-1 outsider with one eye, which then faded to ninth place.

Haynes’ trainer Adam West said: “Buick was very unsporting and Joey wasn’t very happy because both of them and their horses could have been killed.”


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