The High Court judge in the £6m damages claim brought by Freddy Tylicki against another former jockey, Graham Gibbons, has reserved her judgement.
Four horses, including Tylicki’s mount Nellie Dean, were brought down a race at Kempton in October 2016. Tylicki was left paralysed from the waist down.
Edward Faulks QC, representing Tylicki, said the fall resulted from an “inexcusable” piece of riding by Gibbons, who was in front on Madame Butterfly, which breached the duty of care owed by one jockey to another.
Gibbons denies negligence and causing Tylicki’s injuries.
Judge Karen Walden-Smith said she hopes to hand down her judgement before Christmas.
In closing submissions, Faulks cast “real doubt” on how much the court could rely upon Gibbons’ evidence. He cited issues the ex-jockey has had with alcohol and drugs and an inconsistency in his evidence about whether he had taken action to steer away from Tylicki.
He told the judge this was an “exceptional case” in terms of the riding and the tragic outcome, and said “we have established a breach of the appropriate standard of care. We submit this is a case where you ought to find negligence”.
Patrick Lawrence QC, representing Gibbons, said racing pundit Jim McGrath, who on Thursday told the court the fall could have been “easily avoided”, had been “clearly wrong” about several points of detail of “considerable significance”.
In closing remarks, Lawrence said the notion that Gibbons had deliberately closed the door in circumstances that were likely to lead to a collision was “nonsense”.
He said the case “boils down” to the adequacy of Gibbons’ riding over a period of two or three seconds.
Lawrence said: “If anything, it was a case of momentary inattention or misjudgement by Mr Gibbons as he came round the bend, compounded by an ambitious move by Mr Tylicki into a gap that was no longer there, when in hindsight one can see he should’ve taken a pull.
“That is a long, long way short of reaching the high bar that is set in practice in this field.”
In illustrating the “high bar”, he referenced the damages claim brought in 2001 by former National Hunt jockey Peter Caldwell, who sued two fellow riders for allegedly causing a fall that ended his career.
Caldwell lost that case, with Mr Justice Holland finding that Mick Fitzgerald and Adrian Maguire were guilty of lapses of care but their riding had not been reckless or intentional and did not constitute negligence.
Faulks acknowledged that something “more serious” than oversights, errors of judgement and lapses must be found, but the behaviour did not need to be “reckless disregard” for a claim such as this to succeed.
He said Gibbons had plenty of opportunity to see Tylicki on his inside or be aware of him.