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Legendary pony racing figure passes away aged 94

Robert Tyner (right): "He instilled a love for horses in all of us"
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Eric Tyner, father of trainer Robert and a doyen of the pony racing scene, died on Monday aged 94.

For generations, Tyner was one of the most dominant and respected figures on the ‘flapping’ circuit. Based near Kinsale in Co Cork, he had been involved with flappers since 1948 and was responsible for helping many talented young riders gain valuable race-riding experience.

Among those to first establish themselves on Tyner’s horses and ponies were Norman Williamson, Wayne Lordan, Jamie Spencer, Brian Crowley and Aidan Coleman, while Tom Lombard and his late brother John enjoyed a lot of success for him on point-to-pointers.

Tyner also gave this writer a start as a green 13-year-old, while Lordan’s father Pat rode four Dingle Derby winners for him.

“He was in his 95th year and he died very peacefully,” Robert Tyner said of his father on Tuesday. “I was champion on the pony circuit when I was riding for him as a kid and he instilled a love of horses in all of us.”

Robert’s sister Ruth tragically died young following a pony racing fall that left her in a coma for 12 years.

“He was a great man,” said Wayne Lordan. “He got everybody going. My father is 78 and he rode four Dingle Derby winners for him, I rode for him and my brother rode for him.

"It didn’t matter whether you were at the top of pecking order in the flapping or not, once he gave you a ride you were allowed keep it. He loved his pony racing and a lot of us were glad to have him.”

Tyner will lie in repose at Gabriel and O'Donovan's Funeral Home, Kinsale on Tuesday from 5.30pm, followed by Removal at 7.30pm to Christ Church, Innishannon. His funeral mass will be on Wednesday at 2.30pm.

He got everybody going. My father is 78 and he rode four Dingle Derby winners for him, I rode for him and my brother rode for him

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