A JOCKEY is lucky to be alive after breaking his neck in a horror fall in front of hundreds of racegoers at Redcar.

Phillip Makin was on course to win the fourth race at Redcar on Saturday when his horse fell in front of the crowds of onlookers in the main stand on Saturday.

Such was the high speed of the fall that witnesses feared the worse for Mr Makin - but yesterday he tweeted concerned fans from his hospital bed, saying: “Bloody sore this morning, but I’ll live..."

Sadly, Mr Makin's mount, Eyecatcher, had to be put to sleep after breaking his leg in the fall.

Mr Makin was knocked unconscious and was rushed to The James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, where it emerged he had broken a bone in his neck.

The jockey, who has ridden 20 winners this season, will have to wear a neck brace for up to a month while he recovers from the accident.

However, he took to social media on Sunday morning to let his followers know that he was okay.

He said: “Thanks to everyone for messages and well wishes.

“Bloody sore this morning but I’ll live, cost Eyecatcher his life unfortunately, thoughts with @crisfordracing, also thanks to the medical team who helped me."

Racing expert and a good friend of Mr Makin’s, Niall Hannity, said the jockey will appreciate how lucky he is to have escaped from the incident with the one broken bone.

He said: “He has broken a bone in his neck and he is going to be in a brace for three to four weeks and then see what the next step is.

“He is in quite a lot of pain today (Sunday) but it could have been a lot worse – he is very realistic, he accepts that it could have been worse.”

Mr Hannity, based in North Yorkshire, said that Mr Makin was also full of praise for the staff at James Cook Hospital whom he described as being "first class".

He added: “He has broken his back before and had numerous injuries before, obviously the horse was coming to win the race and he has broken his leg and gone down, sadly it was fatal for the horse. Phil has got perspective – he does feel lucky.”

Flat racing has a lower fall rate than jump racing, but the incidents can be far more serious as the horses tend to be flat out at speeds of more than 30mph.

Mr Hannity said: “They don’t fall as often on the flat, but when they do fall they are going quicker, so they fall harder.

“At least jumping you can be a little prepared for it.”

Eyecatcher, a three-year-old trained by Simon Crisford, had won in Ripon earlier this month.

A statement from Redcar Races said: “Our thoughts are with Phil, who is in a brace after breaking a bone in his neck, and we wish him a speedy recovery.

“Our hearts also go out to all the connections of Eyecatcher.”