Champion jockey Filip Minarik dies aged 48 three years after horrific fall left him with devastating brain injury | The Sun

CHAMPION jockey Filip Minarik has tragically died aged 48 just three years after a horrific fall left him with a devastating brain injury.

Labelled a 'f***ing miracle' by close pal Frankie Dettori, Minarik recovered from being in a coma for several weeks but had to live with the awful effects of his tumble.

Sun Racing columnist Matt Chapman broke the news of his death online.

He wrote: "So sad to report former four-time German champion jockey and Prague-born Filip Minarik has passed.

"Life was so hard for him after a horrific fall at Mannheim in 2020. Loved the guy – and he loved the sport.

"Leaves behind a young daughter – she will one day know her dad was a star."

While Arc-winning jockey Luke Morris posted a photo of himself posing with Minarik in Germany just last Sunday.

A statement from Deutscher Galopp read: "Multiple champion jockey Filip Minarik passed away on Monday aged just 48 years old.

"Filip began his career in Germany in 1992 at the Munich Gallop racetrack, winning over 1600 races, including 14 Group 1 races alone.

"He was on the racetrack at the Big Week in Baden-Baden on Saturday and Sunday.

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"After a hard crash on July 3 2020 in Mannheim he had to end his active career as a jockey, but remained loyal to the German turf as an ambassador of canter racing.

"German racing mourns Filip and will never forget him."

Minarik, who appeared on Sky Sports Racing's Shergar Cup coverage last year, was given just a 50-50 chance of survival after the terrible incident at Mannheim racecourse.

The jockey, who rode almost 2,000 winners throughout his career, was unseated from his ride coming round a bend and crashed into the turf head-first.

He lay motionless on the track with a broken leg and ankle before being rushed to hospital for emergency treatment.

Minarik recalled how his wife Katja did not sleep for five days as she sat by his side praying for good news.

He feared he would be wheelchair-bound for the rest of his life when he woke from his coma but showed amazing heart and courage to walk again.

Remembering how he felt when he came to, Minarik previously said: "I was extremely scared. I woke up in a part of the hospital where most people were in wheelchairs.

"I called fellow jockeys Freddie Tylicki, Christian Zschache and Peter Heugl to ask them about life in a wheelchair.

"I was so scared that I could be wheelchair-bound. They told me, 'We did it, and if that's the case, you can do it too'."

Minarik could not remember anything from his fall and his memory suffered as a result.

He said: "It is a big, black hole. When I realised I couldn’t remember anything it was pure panic. I had incredible fears.

"I have watched the accident on video replay.

"It’s something that could happen in any race, in a Group 1 or a bad race at Mannheim, and it did happen in a bad race in Mannheim."

A GoFundMe page set up to aid Minarik's recovery raised more than £100,000.

He got back to his feet and never lost his love of horses – though a return to riding was out the question.

Racing fans were quick to pay tribute to a huge character in the sport who won supporters the world over.

One said: "This is incredibly sad news. A great jockey."

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Another commented: "Such tragic news, he was a true legend and fighter."

While one post read: "Very sad. Tragic news. A real gentleman. RIP Filip."

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