Tributes have been paid to a horserider who was once an apprentice jockey at Newmarket following his death after falling from his horse.

Stefano Cherchi was seriously injured in a fall in Canberra in Australia on March 20 when his mount, Hasime, fell in the Affinity Electrical Technologies Plate.

The 23-year-old received medical treatment at the track before being transferred to hospital and was found to have sustained a head injury and internal bleeding.

Cherchi died on Wednesday, the New South Wales Jockey Association announced. 

He was an apprentice to Newmarket trainer Marco Botti and rode 38 winners for him while in the UK. 

Botti described Cherchi's death as "devastating" and said "he was a little bit like a son". 

He told the PA news agency: “We were devastated this morning when we heard that Stefano had passed away. I think it was midday in Australia and we just heard an hour ago basically.

“It’s just devastating news for all of us. We knew it was a bad fall and we knew things didn’t look great, but you live in hope and hope for a miracle. Hopefully he’s going to a better place and we will never forget him – he will always be with us.”

Botti added: “His charm and his way of behaving with people, he was such a nice guy. For me, he was a little bit like a son to be honest.

“Away from the saddle he has always been a really good guy. We were texting each other through the winter and I was hoping he would come back in the spring.

“It’s very sad for the family and all his friends. It’s like we lost a member of the family, to be honest.”