An experienced stable lad attached to Coombelands Racing Stables, Pulborough, died after after being kicked in the head when preparing a horse for a race at Kempton Park on Saturday night.
The man was named as Kenneth Dooley and he was believed to have been saddling up trainer Amanda Perrett’s third runner at the meeting, Parnassian , for the 8.45pm race, when it was believed, but not confirmed, that he may have been kicked in the head inside the stable.
He was seen staggering outside before collapsing. Emergency services were on the scene immediately but Mr Dooley is believed to have been confirmed dead shortly after they arrived.
Connections said that Parnassian was a very quiet horse with a good temperament in the past. It was not confirmed if the horse was involved in Mr Dooley’s death.
Trainer Mrs Amanda Perrett paid tribute to Mr Dooley, saying he was ‘a very special member’ of her team.
She added:”Ken had been with us for seven years and was a very special member of our family business at Coombelands.
“He was an excellent employee and was very experienced with racehorses, having worked all his life with them as a former jockey, trainer and jockey coach around the world.
“He was always first into work in the morning, hugely enthusiastic and dedicated to his horses and a very valued and integral member of our team.
She thanked her staff, the Kempton stable and racecourse staff, trainer Hugo Palmer’s travelling head lad and racecourse doctor, Dr Lucy Free, who were on the scene so quickly to help Ken.
She added:” Our thoughts are with his family at this very sad time.” Friends of Mr Dooley described him as the ‘loveliest, kindest man’ and added that he had travelled the world while working in the racing industry.