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Letter: Why our criticism of the PJA was justified.

Byline: Leona Sanders

AFTER reading the letter from Chloe Jackman (September 16), I feel compelled to set the record straight.

As I understand it, Chloe is the wife of Mick Fitzgerald, who suffered horrific injuries in the Grand National on April 5.

Mick was then visited by Josh Apiafi, the chief executive of the Professional Jockeys' Association, in hospital on April 7.

My husband Seb was badly injured at Chester on August 30 and, contrary to Mr Apiafi's interview with Matt Chapman on At The Races, I, my husband and his agent Keith Bradley have received no communication whatsoever from him.

Indeed, if I had not telephoned Kevin Darley, who subsequently has been very helpful, I believe there would have been no communication with the PJA.

Fortunately for me, Seb's driver Keith Holland acted on his own initiative and accompanied Seb to the hospital. If this had not been the case, I would have been in the dark regarding Seb's condition, as the hospital would give no details over the phone.

Personally, this is where I feel Chloe's criticism of our complaints is harsh, as, being a jockey's wife, she knows what it is like to be in this kind of situation.

Sadly, Seb will not be the last jockey to be injured. The reason he criticised the lack of action by the PJA was in the hope of improving the current procedure as regards the hospitalisation of jockeys to ensure that no jockey and his family suffers the fiasco that we had to ensure.

Seb does realise that the PJA is in the process of appointing its own doctor, but his concern is what will happen in the meantime.

My husband would have been more than happy to work with the PJA, rather than "publicly sling mud at it", but that is a mite difficult when it is not in touch with you.

In the same way, perhaps Chloe could have called my husband, rather than 'publicly sling mud at him'.

I would also like to take this opportunity on behalf of Seb to thank all the owners, trainers, friends and well-wishers for their kind words and support.

Leona Sanders Bury St Edmunds
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Sep 21, 2008
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