Racing mourns the loss of Stefano Cherchi

The late Stefano Cherchi following his first Australian win back in February. Image: Racing Photography.

The Thoroughbred Racing Industry is deeply saddened with the passing of jockey Mr Stefano Cherchi. Stefano, 23, sustained injuries resulting from a three-horse race fall at Canberra on Wednesday, 20th March 2024.

Stefano was the worst affected, having suffered serious head injuries and was transported to the intensive care unit at Canberra Hospital. The other two riders in the fall, Shaun Guymer and Jeff Penza, received only minor injuries.

“The tragic passing of Stefano Cherchi at such a young age is extremely sad and words cant describe the deep sorrow our industry is feeling today. Stefano was extremely popular amongst his peers and it will be hard for them to come to terms with his tragic passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends and as part of the racing family we will do everything we can to support them in their immense grief,” said Mr Peter V’landys AM, Racing NSW’s Chief Executive.

Born in Italy, Stefano moved to England as a teenager where he had his first ride in August 2018 on Casina Di Notte.

The young jockey was well-respected by his peers and had ridden 106 winners in the UK with 38 of those wins for fellow Italian, Newmarket-based trainer Marco Botti, with whom he was apprenticed.

Stefano’s best season in the UK was in 2021 when he celebrated 35 winners from 283 rides, earning £266,278 in prizemoney.

Stefano decided to relocate to Australia and had based himself at Warwick Farm since the start of 2024, linking primarily with the Annabel Neasham stable. He had ridden a couple of winners with Invasive (trained by Neasham) winning at Orange and Flying Bat (Robert Quinn) scoring an upset Gosford win at $61.

Confidential counselling services are available to racing industry participants in need of support at this time by contacting Racing NSW.

NOTE: A Memorial Mass will be held on Monday, 8th April 2024 at All Saints Catholic Church, 48 George St, Liverpool NSW at 10.30am.