William Muir stresses concern for staff as injured work driver seeks damages | Horse racing news

Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

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William Muir, pictured at his stables in Lambourn, near where a works rider suffered a head injury in 2018

Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

William Muir has sought to highlight the staff at his Lambourn stable as his primary concern, as it emerged a former employee is suing over a fall in 2018 which caused a serious head injury.

A procedural hearing took place in the High Court on Tuesday where lawyers for Maisie Beth Wood, now 25, said she suffered a fractured skull and brain damage which caused convulsions following the incident.

“I feel really sorry for her,” Muir told the Racing Post on Wednesday. “But in our work there is a possibility that anyone can get hurt and we know that when we go to work with animals.

“Staff comes first. Staff would be the first thing I would think of because we’ve all worked with horses our whole lives and we’ve seen accidents. Everyone who works for me, I take care of them the best that I can.”

Muir was absent from court the morning of the incident, when Wood was riding a filly named Malaguena, who later injured herself and never made it to the track. According to reports, the argument to be made on Wood’s behalf is that Malaguena was “very nervous”, “hard to deal with” and was normally sedated before work but not on the day in question.

Some or all of these details are expected to be disputed by the defense, which is handled by Muir’s insurers, who deny negligence.

“I’m not saying the filly was direct or very quiet,” Muir said, “but she wasn’t a horrible race either. It’s just one of those things.”

“I did nothing but try to help”

Wood would have been knocked down, landing on her head. Then, as a co-worker tried to help her back into the saddle, Malaguena reportedly ran away, knocking Wood down and a hoof hitting her head.

If Wood’s claim is successful, the amount of compensation she will receive will depend on the medical evidence. His lawyers say the case has a minimum value of £200,000.

“I did nothing but try to help him through the process,” Muir said, adding that he continued to pay Wood’s salary long after the incident. He describes regularly giving Wood lifts from the village of Lambourn to her stables so she could be around her work colleagues in the following months, as he feared she would otherwise isolate herself.

Wood’s lawyers, RWK Goodman, replied: “Maisie is really very grateful to Mr. Muir for his concern and help after the accident. It is not fair for anyone to discuss the details of the case in the press, but Mr. Muir is right that these things happen sometimes and that’s why all employers have insurance.”

An indictment hearing is to be held in the case, on a date to be determined.

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Earnest L. Veasey