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Trainer killed by horse kick knew risks -- daughter

HARROWING details of how the mother of Irish horseracing PR chief Tamso Doyle died have emerged.

Sue Doyle (59) was kicked to death by a 'spooked' horse on Derby day this year after she entered a field to work with a gelding who wasn't familiar with her.

After details of the June 4 tragedy emerged, her daughter Tamso -- head of PR at Horse Racing Ireland -- told of the dangers of working with horses.

Sue Doyle, a mother of two and grandmother of one, of The Farmyard, St Edmundsbury, Lucan, Co Dublin, was with a friend at his farm in Co Meath when she was fatally kicked.


The horse was "spooked" after the former horse trainer grabbed it by its head collar, an inquest heard yesterday.

Her daughter, a keen horsewoman, told the Herald of the family's loss following her mother's tragic death.

"We think of her every day," she said. "But there are risks with horses. Even though she was a horsewoman all her life, accidents happen."

Among the numerous winners Ms Doyle trained during her career was Bold Jessie's first place in the Tattersalls Breeders Stakes in 1990 with a first prize of £281,071 -- the third richest of that year in Ireland. Her husband, Paul, who had also been a horse trainer, died tragically 25 years ago.

Simon Walford, of Trim, Co Meath, told the Dublin County Coroner's Court how he had asked Ms Doyle to hold the gate as he led a three-year-old filly out of the field by a rope.

Ms Doyle, who was very experienced with horses, went into the field and took hold of a three-year-old gelding by grabbing its head collar.

Mr Walford told her not to bring the horse in as she did not have a rope, so Ms Doyle then let go of the horse's head collar.

As she let go, the gelding walked forward and kicked Ms Doyle with its hind foot.

"She fell to the ground in pain," Mr Walford told the inquest. Mr Walford ran to his house and told his wife to call an ambulance.

Ms Doyle had called to visit the Walfords earlier that day and they had watched the Epsom Derby on television.

Mr Walford said nothing had frightened the horse, but that Ms Doyle was a stranger going into the field.

"They don't like a strange person going into the field," he said.

He agreed with the Dublin County coroner, Dr Kieran Geraghty, that the action of catching the horse by the halter had "spooked" the horse.

Health and Safety Authority inspector Peter O'Connell, who carried out an investigation into the incident, said it was an "unfortunate accident".

Ms Doyle was rushed by ambulance to James's Connolly Memorial, Blanchardstown, where she died later that night.


He death was caused by shock due to blood loss due to laceration of the liver caused by a horse kick to her right chest and abdomen.

Directing the jury, the coroner said it was very clearly an accidental death.

"It was just an error of judgment," he said. A jury returned a verdict of accidental death.

The coroner expressed his condolences to Ms Doyle's family and to her two daughters Tamso and Izabella, who attended the inquest.

"It was a very tragic thing to have happened to this woman," he said.