Jogger sues over collision with horses at Curragh Racecourse
Gary Turner was knocked down by number of galloping animals at training grounds
Gary Turner of Walshestown Abbey, Newbridge, Co. Kildare outside the Four Courts after the opening day of his HIgh Court action for damages Photograph: Collins Courts
The collision happened at the grass gallops in the Curragh horse training grounds when the horses were said to be galloping about 60km/h and the force of it was such one jockey was dismounted, the court heard.
Gary Turner, a businessman who lives in Newbridge, close to the Curragh, told Mr Justice David Keane he was a regular jogger in the area for some eight years and was jogging sometime after 9.15am on the morning of Saturday,September 6th, 2014 when the collision happened.
It was a very sunny day, he was wearing earphones and heard the horses approach from his left after he had run past buildings and onto a grassy area with a fence on his left but had no time to avoid them, he said.
The horses “basically went over me”, he believed two horses hit him and he thought he was “dying”.
He said he had seen “thousands” of sheep in the area over the years but never saw horses there before this. Nor had he ever seen any sign advising members of the public not to enter the area before 1pm.
He was taken to hospital where a dislocated shoulder was diagnosed for which he is still receiving physiotherapy.
A later MRI scan showed atrophy of the lower back which lead to further procedures and had also seen psychologists for a period. He said he is in pain constantly but has “no choice” but to go to work as he runs a transport business employing 35 people.
Under cross-examination, Declan Buckley SC, for the Curragh Racecourse, put to him the area in question was used as a training area for horses for hundreds of years and about 100 horses train there every Saturday.
Mr Turner said he did not know that at the time of the incident and had never seen a horse there. He had seen horses trotting about 6km away and horses around the Curragh but not racing quickly, he said.
When Mr Buckley put to him that was “nonsense”, Mr Turner repeated he had never seen a horse there.
Represented by Jeremy Maher SC, with Patrick McCarthy SC, instructed by Ferry’s Solicitors, Mr Turner, of Walshestown Abbey, Athgarvan Road, Newbridge, has sued two related companies — the Curragh Racecourse and Curragh Racecourse Hospitality Ltd — along with two sisters, Tracey Collins and Sheena Collins, of Cunningham Lodge, The Curragh, arising from the incident.
The Curragh defendants are sued for negligence and breach of duty on grounds including allegedly operating an unsafe system insofar as horses wre permitted ride at speed in the area. In a joint defence, they deny the claims.
The sisters are sued as trainers of the horses but, in their joint separate defence, say Tracey Collins is a trainer and her sister Sheena was not a trainer of the horses, was not involved in the incident and is an employee of her sister. The sisters deny negligence and breach of duty and deny causing or permitting a collision with the horses.
They also plead contributory negligence on the part of Mr Turner over allegedly running towards a designated gap for horses in railings without checking whether there were horses galloping through. They plead, as a local man in Newbridge, he should have known it was likely horses were being exercised on the lands and has caused or permitted an emergency situation in front of the riders of galloping horses which they had no reasonable means of avoiding.