Francis Flood: trained two Irish National winners as wellPICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
Gold Cup-winning trainer Flood dies at 86
FRANCIS FLOOD, who won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1972 with the mare Glencaraig Lady, has died at the age of 86.
Along with Glencaraig Lady, Flood also trained Bobsline to Cheltenham Festival success in the 1984 Arkle, as well as winning two Irish Nationals with Garoupe in 1970 and Ebony Jane 23 years later.
Glencaraig Lady had been a late faller in the race now known as the RSA Chase and then Gold Cup in the years preceding her biggest triumph. In her crowning year, she beat luminaries of chasing such as L'Escargot, The Dikler and Crisp.
Frank Berry, Glencaraig Lady's rider who is now racing manager to JP McManus, told AtTheRaces: "He was a lovely man. I started out with him in 1970 when I came of my apprenticeship.
"The following year I had my first ride in England on Glencaraig Lady in the King George and the next year after winning a few big races in Ireland on her I rode her in the Gold Cup, which was my first ride in Cheltenham - which was a big thing - and I was lucky enough to win. I never looked back from then on."
'A sad day'
Berry added: "He was a good man to ride for and was always in your corner. He was champion amateur about seven times himself. He understood the game inside out from a jockey's point of view which was great.
"He was a hard-working man and we had some great times together apart from the two Cheltenham winners. We won three or four Arkles at Leopardstown, a couple Thyestes Chases and a lot of success in between and I was lucky enough to be champion jockey a few times. We got on really well and it's a sad day. He was just a top-class man."
Big-race success for Flood became less frequent in recent years, though he was always liable to pop up with the winner of a good handicap chase. G V A Ireland won the Midlands National in 2006 for Flood and Miss Xian won the Leinster National under Mark Enright just last March.
He had recorded four wins so far in the current jumps season and sent out his last runner at Cork on Sunday.
Flood is survived by his wife Theresa, sons Tom, Francis jnr and Kevin and daughters Brid and Mary. Francis has indicated that he would look to keep his father's yard going.