11:47am Thursday 15th March 2012
By Peter Martini
A NORTH Yorkshire photographer caught up in a near-disaster at the Cheltenham Festival believes the incident should not lead to a change in safety regulations at racecourses.
Alec Russell, from Norton, watched from close range as Wishfull Thinking, ridden by Richard Johnson fell at fence three of yesterday’s Queen Mother Champion Chase and crashed through the inside rail into a group of photographers.
Johnson suffered only bad bruising, while French photographer Jean-Charles Briens was treated at hospital for facial cuts and concussion.
Russell, who was at the fence in question but on the other side, said: “I’m sure racing chiefs will have a rethink about safety issues but I’ve been doing this for 40 years and it’s the first time I’ve ever seen a photographer injured like that.”
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