Tragedy in Turkey: jockey Eszter Jeles dies of her injuries 13 days after Fegentri fall

Horse Racing Ezster Jeles jockey
Ezster Jeles: Hungarian amateur jockey died in hospital after race fall. Photo: Jockey Club of Turkey

By Jon Lees

Turkey: Hungarian amateur jockey Eszter Jeles has died in hospital 13 days after being seriously injured a fall in a Fegentri race in Istanbul.

Jeles was representing her country in the latest stage in the Longines-sponsored World Championship series at Veliefendi racecourse on September 5.

She had ridden the winner of the race for Purebred Arabians, on Deger, but in the other race on the card, a five runner race over 1m, her mount Toms was brought down when Out Of The Dark, ridden by Tracy Menuet fell in front of her.

Jeles suffered head injuries and was taken to hospital where she underwent surgery the following day.

In the most recent bulletin from her family posted by the Hungarian Jockey Club last week, Jeles’s condition was described as stable but she had not woken up.

However on Saturday the Jockey Club of Turkey announced that she had died in a statement posted on their website.

“Hungarian female rider Eszter Jeles, who was injured by falling from a thoroughbred named Toms, during the FEGENTRI Amateur Women’s Riders World Championship Race held in Istanbul Veliefendi Racecourse on Sunday, September 5, was urgently referred to the hospital and treated.

“Eszter Jeles was operated on Monday, September 6, and the treatment process continued. Despite all the efforts of the medical teams from the first day, we have learned with deep sadness that the Hungarian rider Jeles lost her life battle for 13 days and passed away.

“We wish God’s mercy on the Hungarian rider Eszter Jeles, who lost her life, and we express our condolences and patience to her family, relatives and  fans.”

Paying their own tribute, the Hungarian Jockey Club said: “Eszti was a hero, she gave her life for horse racing. We will forever lock her memory in our hearts.”

A special ceremony for Jeles was held at Veliefendi on Sunday, which was attended by family, where a minute’s silence was observed.

The jockey’s mother Andrea told the gathering: “It is very difficult to describe the emotions we experience. Eszter specifically chose Turkey for horse riding. Years ago, in a post she made on her social media account, she said, ‘If I die one day because of my passion for speed, don’t be sad because I will be laughing at that time’.

She added: “We are grateful to everyone who took care of us, especially the Jockey Club of Turkey, and we will never forget your support.”

According to the Fegentri website, Jeles was a student who had ridden nine winners from 106 Flat rides. She was in fourth place in the 2021 Lady Rider rankings.

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