The racing world is mourning the loss of Stefano Cherchi.

By: Scott Mcglynn
07/04/2024
Horse Racing Betting Tips
Horse Racing News
The racing world is mourning the loss of Stefano Cherchi.

On March 20 in a three-horse incident at Canberra Stefano Cherchi was left with a serious head injury, he passed this week. 

News Insights

  • The 23-year-old was born in Sardinia
  • Best known riding for Marco Botti in England
  • Had ridden two winners in Australia
  • Tributes pour in from the racing world

Two weeks after suffering internal bleeding and head injuries in a three-horse fall at Canberra, Stefano Cherchi lost his fight. The 23-year-old arrived in Australia in January looking for opportunities after the rides dried up in England. 

Australia is a popular place for English and Irish jockeys to head to, not only in our summer when the weather back home is poor but also to look for better opportunities in a country where the volume of horse racing is much higher. Stefano Cherchi was one of those who arrived just a few months back, looking for more opportunities, primarily with Anabel Neasham who herself left England. 

From Sardinia to Newmarket 

There is a big racing fraternity in Italy and while Frankie Dettori might be their most famous export in the last few decades, Stefano Cherchi began his career with plenty of promise himself. He teamed up early with trainer and fellow Italian Marco Botti who trains in Newmarket. 
 
He arrived at the age of 16, getting his first opportunity in August 2018. He would have to wait until 02 April 2019 to ride his first winner when he saluted on Withoutdestination in a 2400m contest at Wolverhampton. It was the only time the horse got his head in front in his career, looking a tricky ride on more than one occasion. 

100+ winners in England 

Cherchi would ride 106 winners in England with 2021 the best year of his career numerically with 35 on the board. One of the issues facing many jockeys is that they are used when they are able to claim weight as an apprentice but then they find it hard to get rides when they no longer have that advantage.  
 
Cherchi would ride just 12 winners in 2023 after 26 in 2022. He would also spend some time riding in California in 2022, looking to learn how hoops around the world operate. Catching the eye of the powerful Godolphin operation, he would ride in 40 races in the famous all-blue silks, saluting on eight of them and finishing second on seven others.  
 
2023 would see him adopt more of a freelance role as he searched for rides. There was a partnership formed with Ben Brookhouse who provided him with a Group 1 ride towards the end of the year but it was not enough to keep Cherchi plugging away on the all-weather over the English winter, opting to head to Australia instead. 

Moving for Australian opportunities 

After arriving in January, it would take 13 rides for Cherchi to salute for the first time. He had endured a frustrating run that would last six weeks before getting that first winner, Invasive for Annabel Neasham at Orange. Five of Cherchi’s eight rides prior to getting that maiden Australian winner had finished runner-up so he was knocking loudly on the door. 
 
There would be one more winner for Cherchi in Australia. He would get Flying Bat home in front at Gosford on March 16 for Robert Quinn, a $61 roughie whom Cherchi coaxed home. It was also for Quinn that Cherchi had his Canberra ride on Hasime.  
 
Cherchi was dating Brittany Fallon, the daughter of six-time British champion Kieren Fallon who rode a few winners in Australia, most notably on the 2006 A J Moir Stakes winner California Dane at The Valley. Kieren’s son Cieren was Cherchi’s best friend and has led the tributes from Newmarket.  

Racing might be spread across the world but the camaraderie and family of the jockey’s room is the same. When you have the personality of Stefano Cherchi, it is easy to become well-liked, even at such a young age. Cherchi will be missed in both the northern and southern hemispheres, we extend our thoughts to his family. 

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