JOCKEY William Buick is reported to be in “good spirits” after fracturing a vertebrae in his lower back when Yorkshire challenger Permian suffered a “catastrophic” fatal injury in North America.
The winner of the Royal Ascot’s King Edward VII Stakes was trailing home in last place in the Group One Secretariat Stakes at Arlington when shattering his left fore moments after passing the post.
Permian’s injury – the Mark Johnston-trained three-year-old was euthanised on the spot – saw Buick, 29, unseated and he landed awkwardly on the Chicago turf before being transferred to hospital.
It was later reported that the jockey, who complained of back pain immediately after the fall, had fractured a T12 vertebrae, though he was able to sit up and move. was undergoing further scans last night and was hoping to fly back to Britain to continue his recovery. Buick’s father Walter, a retired jockey, said: “William is going to have a second scan and hopefully they can get him on a flight home.
“It could have been an awful lot worse. I’ve spoken to him and he is in good spirits.”
Like all jockeys, Buick is acutely aware of the sport’s inherent risks and Godolphin’s retained rider will be thankful that his injuries were not worse.
He had also developed a good rapport with Permian who won York’s Dante Stakes under Franny Norton before Buick took over the riding reins for the Epsom Derby in which the horse was unplaced.
The colt, who amassed over £400,000 in prize money from 14 starts, was seeking a deserved Group One success after being beaten a whisker in France last month.
After travelling well during the race that celebrates Secretariat, a former US Triple Crown winner, Permian couldn’t respond with his trademark tenacity when the pace accelerated before the final bend.
Johnston’s son and assistant Charlie, who was trackside, said: “We’ve lost the horse. He suffered a catastrophic fracture of his left fore.
“He was in the process of running a very disappointing race and I believe it was when he was winding down that it happened. William is conscious, but complaining of back pain.”
It was a tragic end to a day which saw the in-form Johnston stable take Haydock’s feature Betfred Rose of Lancaster Stakes courtesy of Frankuus.
Given a bold ride by Joe Fanning, the grey son of Frankel dictated affairs from pillar to post to win the Group Three over an extended mile and a quarter.
Karl Burke is likely to be double handed in the Darley Prix Morny at Deauville next weekend with exciting prospects Havana Grey and Unfortunately.
Havana Grey is a winner of four of his six races to date and landed the Molecomb Stakes at Goodwood recently. Meanwhile Unfortunately took his form to a new level when winning the Prix Robert Papin at Maisons-Laffitte last month.
“I would like to split them up, but this race looks the right one for both of them at this stage of their careers,” said Leyburn-based Burke.
“If the ground was to turn up quick, then Unfortunately is actually in the Gimcrack at York. I can’t see a reason why Havana Grey won’t stay six furlongs.
“It’s the logical place to run them both and I’ve been happy with the pair of them since their last runs.”