WE are deeply saddened to report the sudden and unexpected death of jockey Alec Forbes (41), on Wednesday night. Forbes, who rode Master Of Mischief to victory for trainer Wendy Whitehead at Scottsville yesterday (headline photo), fell ill shortly after he’d arrived home and eaten dinner with his wife, trainer Lezeanne Forbes.
His agent, Rob Champion, tells: “Alec was the last person I spoke to last night. We discussed his winner. He coughed and said he felt a bit fluish, but he was fine. I am told he felt sick after dinner and was rushed to hospital, where he was diagnosed with pneumonia and died a while later.
“Alec always watched his diet, but his weight wasn’t a problem. He was wasting for the last 25 years, all jockeys do. I really can’t say whether this attributed to his illness. This is just a tragic, terrible death and I could hardly hold the phone when Lezeanne rang me with the news this morning.”
Alec was known as a true gentleman, also often referred to as the cleverest jockey in the business. Champion tells: “Karl Neisius pointed out how he and other colleagues knew Alec, the man. When jockeys were sitting in the jockeys room, joking around and laughing, Alec was always in the corner, reading a hard-cover book on philosophy. That was him, a thinker, a philosopher, just a great man who will be sorely missed. I am devastated!”
It’s never easy to pay respects to close family so soon after a death and Champion added: “I am overwhelmed about how many people phoned me with condolences today, to convey to Lezeanne. Anton Marcus, Charles Laird, many others. They shared their shock and conveyed their best wishes to the family in this time.”
According to Sporting Post, Alec Forbes rode his first winner at his 8th ride for Snowy Reid on Don’t Blame Me at Scottsville on 19 May 1993. He also rode a host of Gr1 winners – his most memorable association being with the Equus Champion Val De Ra, on whom he won the 2011 Computaform Sprint to beat What A Winter. He also partnered Via Africa to a number of big wins.
Alec is survived by wife Lezeanne, children, Zac, Jordan and Savannah. Turf Talk extends heartfelt condolences to the Forbes family.