Champion jockey Ruby Walsh has broken more bones than it is worth detailing.
Along with dislocated hips and shoulders, he has broken both wrists, both legs, both ankles, ruptured his spleen, and crushed two vertebrae, in a career spanning almost two decades, and filled with racing accolades.
While injuries have never stopped his racing career, some jockeys fail to be so lucky.
Limerick’s Robbie McNamara suffered life changing injuries after a fall in April 2015 left him paralysed from the waist down, despite the adversities of his injury, he successfully coached two winners at a meeting in Cork a fortnight ago.
“It can be a simple broken nail or finger, to career ending, so it is pretty serious,” said Michael Higgins, general manager of the Irish Injured Jockeys, “but that is not to push anyone away.”
The charity is involved in equipment research to improve a jockey’s protection, and also focuses on ground conditions “as bad conditions can make life a whole lot more difficult”.
During the 2014/15 racing season, more than 800 falls were recording, varying in injury, and nature.
“They are not thrill seekers,” added Higgins, “they are just earning a living.”
A point-to-point jockey, where most young horse enthusiasts begin their careers, is 20 times more likely to fall than a flat jockey, and almost twice as likely as a jump jockey to hit the ground.
In a bid to raise awareness and vital funds for injured jockeys throughout Ireland, Higgins and Walsh set up the Irish Injured Jockeys charity.
At the Galway Races, the charity will be hosting two events at the Galway Bay Golf Resort, with racing and sporting icons expected to attend en masse.
“They are two pretty big events, we would be hoping for a very good response, and big crowds at both,” said Higgins.
“It is a great way to support, not only the jockeys, but racing in general.”
Chair of the IIJ, Walsh, added; “We are delighted that Galway Bay Golf Resort is running these two events in aid of Irish Injured Jockeys.
“Not only will the events raise funds for our fellow jockeys, but they will also raise awareness for the charity during Galway Race Week, one of the highlights of the Irish racing calendar.”
On Tuesday July 26, there will be an opportunity to tee off alongside a host of sporting celebrities, and test your hand across an 18-hole shootout against Ruby Walsh himself, Kieran Fallon, Mick Kinane, and Mouse Morris.
The event will be followed by lunch in the clubhouse, with big screens showing the day’s racing from Ballybrit, with expert tipsters and betting on site.
Following Ladies Day, on Thursday July 28, there will be a blackjack/ roulette night at the resort.
Race Day goers can avail of free transport after the final race meet, being whisked away for dinner and champagne, before the casino-themed night, and live auction, kick off later in the evening.
Cafolla and Engle will provide music of the night, and the saxophone duo promise to cap off a week of entertainment in style.
All events require prior bookings and tickets in order to attend.
For more information about events, prices, or to book, contact the Galway Bay Golf Resort on 091 790711 or 086 8216165.