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Sunday, 20 January, 2019

Bolger and Oxx among familiar faces to pay tribute to TP Burns

TP Burns: professional integrity and unfailing modesty
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Jim Bolger and John Oxx were among a host of familiar faces in attendance at St Brigid's Church, the Curragh, on Wednesday morning for the funeral of TP Burns, who died on Monday aged 94.

Fr John McDonald was the celebrant for the funeral mass and he reserved some special words for the dual-purpose champion jockey, hailing him a "legend of the racing world". 

The finish of the St. Leger Stakes won by Mr. J. McShain's 'Ballymoss' (T. P. burns up), from 'Court Harwell' (A. Breasley) and 'Brioche' (E. Hide up).

McDonald said: "TP was a versatile type of person, mixing his riding over many types including Flat and over the jumps. He was at home whether it was the Curragh or Cheltenham. He was a legend of the race world.

"He was a straight character, as straight as an arrow, and always disciplined. He had a deep faith and always said 'if you have God on your side, who can be against us'."

As well as Bolger and Oxx, other trainers who attended were Michael Halford, Eddie Harty, Brendan Duke and Michael O'Callaghan, while Kevin Manning, Frank Berry and Willie Robinson were also there.

Marvellous career

Burns was a key cog in the Vincent O'Brien machine through much of the legendary trainer’s career, including when partnering Ballymoss to win the Irish Derby and the English St Leger in 1957. He was runner-up on the same horse in that year’s Epsom Derby.

Burns won six Irish Classics, the most recent of which was on the Kevin Prendergast-trained Pidget in the 1972 St Leger.

Burns also rode nine winners at the Cheltenham Festival, all over hurdles for Vincent O'Brien. He was also runner-up in the 1955 Champion Hurdle on Stroller and rode the legendary Arkle to victory in a Flat race at Navan in 1963.

When Flat and jumps winners were combined, Burns was champion jockey in Ireland on three occasions in 1954, 1955 and 1957.

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He was a straight character, as straight as an arrow, and always disciplined
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