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Remembering those we said goodbye to in 2017 who left their mark on racing

Peter Walwyn: the former champion trainer died last month
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The most successful trainers on this side of the Atlantic to pass on during 2017 were Peter Walwyn, Mercy Rimell, Mary Reveley and Geoff Wragg.

Walwyn, who died in December aged 84, was champion trainer twice and will be remembered above all for Grundy, the dual Derby winner who won the 'Race of the Century', the 1975 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

His two championship years coincided with the career of Grundy, champion two-year-old in 1974 and world champion in 1975, when the flashy chestnut won the Derby and Irish Derby, and beat Bustino in their epic encounter at Ascot.

Walwyn, who had trained dual champion filly Humble Duty, did not sustain that level of success but remained a significant force at his Lambourn base until his retirement in 1999 after a 40-year career.

His success was complemented by the endearing and volatile eccentricity that resulted in several Basil Fawlty-type fallings-out and a host of colourful stories.

Mercy Rimell, who died in July aged 98, spent most of her career as assistant to her husband, the great trainer Fred Rimell, and after his death this formidable lady held the licence with considerable success.

She became the first woman to train a Champion Hurdle winner when Gaye Brief triumphed in 1983, and she also had his brother, Stayers' Hurdle winner Gaye Chance.

Mercy Rimell: died aged 98 in June

Mary Reveley, 77, was the winningmost woman trainer of all time in Britain with 2,010 victories, but none of them came at the Cheltenham Festival or in a Group race on the Flat.

Nevertheless, the self-effacing Lingdale handler was among the top dual-purpose trainers of recent years, with Mellottie and Cab On Target her stars.

Geoff Wragg, 87, won the Derby with Teenoso in 1983, his first season as a trainer after succeeding his father, Harry Wragg, at Abington Place, Newmarket.

Teenoso, Lester Piggott's ninth and last Derby winner, also won the King George as a four-year-old and was the best horse Wragg ever had. He later trained champion filly Marling and another King George winner, Pentire.

David Nicholls, who died aged 61, rode the remarkable Soba to all her 11 wins in 1982 and became a specialist trainer of sprinters, including dual Group 1 winners Continent and Regal Parade. He landed the Ayr Gold Cup six times.

We also lost Padge Berry (Bannow Rambler), Patrick Haslam (Kinnaird), John Brockbank (A Kinsman), Alan Swinbank (Collier Hill), Richard Casey (Vague Shot) and perennial Norwegian champion Arnfinn Lund.


The ranks of former jockeys lost Irish champions Martin Molony, Tommy Carberry, Johnny Roe and Buster Parnell, Red Rum's jockey Brian Fletcher, and Australian Hall of Fame members Edgar Britt and Jack Purtell.

Martin Molony, who died in July aged 91, was probably the greatest dual-purpose jockey of all time and among the ten greatest jump jockeys – a true legend.

He was the overall champion (Flat and jumps combined) in Ireland for the last six years of his career (1946-51) and, from his Irish base, was runner-up to his elder brother Tim in the British jump jockeys' table in 1949-50.

His strength in a finish won him the 1951 Cheltenham Gold Cup on Silver Fame by a short head, and a month later he came third in the Derby on Signal Box.

Molony rode three Irish Classic winners and three Irish Grand National winners, landed the Irish Cesarewitch twice on Hatton's Grace, and would have achieved even more had he not suffered a career-ending fall at the age of 26.

Tommy Carberry: four-time champion jump jockey passed away in July

Tommy Carberry, 75, who died two days after Molony, was champion jump jockey four times, rode L'Escargot to his two Cheltenham Gold Cup wins (1970, '71) and his Grand National victory over Red Rum in 1975, and won a third Gold Cup on Ten Up.

He also won the Grand National as a trainer with Bobbyjo in 1999 and founded a riding dynasty, with four of his children forging successful careers.

Brian Fletcher, who died in January aged 69, rode Red Rum to his first two Grand National victories in 1973 and 1974, although he later fell out with trainer Ginger McCain.

He had already won the race on Red Alligator in 1968 and was nearly champion jockey that season, finishing only five wins behind Josh Gifford.

Johnny Roe, 79, was Ireland's champion jockey on the Flat nine times between 1963 and 1974, and rode Roberto in Ireland when stable jockey to Vincent O'Brien.

He rode one British Classic winner, Nocturnal Spree, but neither he nor 1969 champion Buster Parnell, who died at 83, was a top international jockey.

The longevity stakes was won by Edgar Britt, who died aged 103 in Queensland in January.

This Australian rode in Britain for 15 years, and in 1948 was runner-up to Gordon Richards in the jockeys' table and partnered his best mount, Black Tarquin, to win the St Leger. His other Classic winners included Sayajirao, Musidora and Nearula.

Jack Purtell, 95, was champion jockey seven times in Melbourne and rode three Melbourne Cup winners including Rising Fast. He was retained by Vincent O'Brien when winning the Oaks on Long Look in 1965.

We also lost Harry Sprague, who won the 1956 Champion Hurdle on Doorknocker, Frank 'Bonky' Nash, who landed two Champion Chases on Drinny's Double, Clive Bailey (Official), John Shortt (Space Trucker), champion apprentice Brian Lee, and Brian Procter, long-time work-rider for Dick Hern.

US racing said farewell to Kim Rice, who set a world record for a woman jockey of 231 wins in 1975 (the current record is 368 by Julie Krone), and Grade 1-winning rider Diane Nelson.

US trainers

Two US Hall of Fame trainers, Jack Van Berg and LeRoy Jolley, died last month.

Van Berg, 81, once held the trainers' world records for the most wins in a career and the most in one year, and is best remembered for Alysheba.

The Nebraska native was notable for quantity rather than quality of winners, but Alysheba proved a rare exception by triumphing in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness in 1987. The colt clinched Horse of the Year honours in 1988 by taking the Breeders' Cup Classic.

Van Berg's score of 496 wins in 1976 stood as a world record for 28 years, and he was also the world's winningmost trainer of all time from 1981 until the current career record-holder, Dale Baird, surpassed him in 1990. His final score was 6,523.

LeRoy Jolley, 79, trained Kentucky Derby winners Foolish Pleasure and the filly Genuine Risk. He also had Manila, perhaps the best turf specialist ever trained in America and victorious in the Breeders' Cup Turf in which Dancing Brave came fourth in 1986.

US racing also lost Lynn Whiting, who won the Kentucky Derby with Lil E Tee, and David Whiteley, who trained female champions Revidere, Waya and Just A Game, and also Coastal, who beat Spectacular Bid in the 1979 Belmont Stakes.

Randy Rouse, 100, who died on April 7, was well known in US steeplechasing circles and, at 99, became the oldest trainer to win any race under rules when Hishi Soar scored at Foxfield, Virginia in April 2016.


Secretariat's co-owner Penny Chenery, Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning owners the Marquesa de Moratalla and Alan and Ann Potts, and dual Kentucky Derby winner Beverly Lewis have all died in the last 12 months.

The death that resonated most with the US public was that of Penny Chenery, who with her siblings owned Secretariat, America's greatest champion.

They also owned Riva Ridge, the 1972 Kentucky Derby winner, and she was the family spokeswoman during Secretariat's awesome Triple Crown campaign in 1973.

With charm and dignity, Mrs Chenery maintained a high profile for the rest of her long life – she died in September aged 95 – as keeper of the flame for her great champion, an advocate for equine-welfare causes, and a goodwill ambassador for the sport.

The first lady of American racing was portrayed by Diane Lane in the 2010 Disney film Secretariat.

The Marquesa de Moratalla: owned 1994 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner The Fellow

The Marquesa de Moratalla, 87, a Spaniard who was among the richest women in the world, owned The Fellow, who won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1994 after two short-head defeats in the race, and First Gold, the champion chaser of 2000-01.

Her most remarkable horse was Ubu, who achieved a Dawn Run-type double in the French Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup equivalents.

Alan and Ann Potts won the Cheltenham Gold Cup with Sizing John in March, but within eight months husband and wife had both died. They also owned Sizing Europe, the 2011 Queen Mother Champion Chase winner.

Beverly Lewis and her husband Bob won the Kentucky Derby with both Silver Charm and Horse of the Year Charismatic.

We also lost Champion Hurdle-winning owners Tony Geake (Beech Road) and Ernie Pick (Alderbrook), John Sumner (Royal Marshal, Dublin Flyer), Tony Durkan (Anaglogs Daughter), David Stoddart (Party Politics), Robin Eliot (Deep Sensation), John Pearce (Arcadian Heights) and centenarian Jack Fisher (Katies). Top breeders June McKnight (Alleged) and Tom Gentry (Royal Academy) also died.

The departed owners who were famous outside racing included actor Sir John Hurt, ex-Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave, former BBC chairman Sir Christopher Bland, playwright and actor Sam Shepard, and 1970s pop singer and heart-throb David Cassidy, co-owner of Sweet Vendetta, who won the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (the fillies' Preakness) in 2008.

We also lost founding Racing Post chairman Sir Gordon Brunton, Goodwood owner the Duke of Richmond, handicappers Christopher Mordaunt and Noel O'Brien, and former executives Ian de Wesselow (Raceform), Graham Parr (Arena Leisure), John Cameron-Hayes (RCA) and Tim Riley (Cartmel).

Terry Downes, world middleweight boxing champion in the early 1960s, was co-owner of a chain of betting shops until selling them to William Hill.

Racecourse deaths

Amateur rider James McNeile, stalls handler Steve Yarborough and groom Ken Dooley all suffered fatal injuries on the racecourse.

McNeile, 57, a financial adviser and point-to-point rider, died on April 2, the day after his mount threw him when running into the wing of a fence at Larkhill. His brother, Peter, used to be clerk of the course at Kempton.

James McNeile: died following a fall at Larkhill point-to-point in April

Steve Yarborough, 60, was a popular stalls-handler team leader who was run over by the stalls at Haydock on July 21. The rest of the card was abandoned.

Stalls handlers are among racing's unsung heroes who keep the show on the road, and although they do a dangerous job, this was the first fatality since starting stalls were introduced in Britain in 1965.

The hazards met by racing's workforce were further emphasised at Kempton on October 14 when Ken Dooley, 57, who worked for Amanda Perrett, received fatal injuries when kicked in the head by a horse in the racecourse stables.

Further afield, two more jockeys were killed in race-riding falls. Darren Jones was thrown from his mount at a country meeting at Warialda, New South Wales on April 8, and Anthony Deau, a French jockey prominent in Arabian racing, suffered fatal injuries at Mons in Belgium on October 8.


Gordon Price 85 Trainer of Shadey Dove & Stans Pride

Brian Fletcher 69 Rider of Red Alligator & Red Rum

John Pearce 98 Owner of Arcadian Heights & Dragon Dancer

Padge Berry 90 Trainer of Bannow Rambler & More Scotch

Tony Hobbs 88 Former Minehead permit-holder

Gordon Cramp 83 Former jump jockey

Nick Ayliffe 82 Former Minehead trainer

Prof. Bernhard von Schubert 65 Joint-owner of Gestut Ebbesloh

Christopher Mordaunt 82 Senior jumps handicapper 1983-98

Ernie Pick 73 Owner of Alderbrook

Sir John Hurt 77 Actor & racehorse owner

Edgar Britt 103 Australian Hall of Fame jockey

Sir Christopher Bland 78 Former owner with Richard Gibson

Bill Mooney 69 US racing historian


Charles Radclyffe 97 Developer of potential jumpers

Jim Mitchell 86 Former owner of Beechgrove Stud

Robin Eliot 74 Owner of Arctic Call & Deep Sensation

Tony Geake 80 Owner of Killwarren & Beech Road

Eric Tyner 94 Former Kinsale trainer

John Shortt 53 Rider of Dance Beat & Space Trucker

June McKnight 98 Breeder of Alleged & Tong

Tim Finch 81 Former Norwich trainer

Diana Winter 83 Widow of Fred Winter

Steven Muldoon 53 Rider of Sea Pigeon

Mary 'Bay' Schiffer 102 Joint-owner of Double Discount

Brian Procter 75 Former work-rider for Dick Hern

Ted Powell 74 Breeder & trainer of Hello Mister


John Powney 87 Former Newmarket trainer

John Cameron-Hayes 91 RCA chief executive 1978-89

Clive Bailey 70 Rider of Salviati & Official

Jim Leigh 82 Trainer of Eagle's Nest & On Tiptoes

Jack Purtell 95 Australian Hall of Fame jockey

Hubertus Fanelsa 72 Former Bremen trainer

Arnfinn Lund 81 Former champion trainer in Norway

David Stoddart 79 Owner of Private Views & Party Politics


Richard Casey 70 Trainer of Vague Shot & Petrullo

James McNeile 57 Point-to-point rider

Randy Rouse 100 Virginia steeplechase trainer

Lady Herries of Terregles 76 Owner of Castle Courageous

Graham Parr 67 Co-founder of Arena Leisure

Lynn Whiting 77 Trainer of At The Threshold & Lil E Tee

Johnny Roe 79 Nine-time champion jockey

John Brockbank 89 Owner-trainer of A Kinsman

Melvyn Leach 72 Former Newark trainer


Paul Arnold 76 Bloodstock agent

Lord Soulsby 90 Ex-chairman of Levy Board veterinary committee

Alan Swinbank 72 Trainer of Collier Hill & Formal Decree

Lady Jane Gillespie 55 Tyrone trainer

Tony Power 89 Former Irish Press journalist

Sir Gordon Brunton 95 Founding chairman of the Racing Post


David Nicholls 61 Trainer of Continent & Regal Parade

Manny Azpurua 88 Trainer of Nightmare Affair & Social Inclusion

John Sumner 94 Owner of Royal Marshal & Dublin Flyer

Johnnie Lewis 80 Former BBA vice-chairman

Kevin Mercer 67 Co-owner of Usk Valley Farm


Lord Sandberg 90 Chairman of Hong Kong Jockey Club 1981-86

Bob Blumberg 70 Joint-owner of Mirjan & Freetown

Marvin Little 79 Breeder of Hansel & Kinsale King

Diane Nelson 51 Rider of Its Acedemic & Acey Deucey

Mercy Rimell 98 Trainer of Gaye Brief & Gaye Chance

Martin Molony 91 Six-time champion jockey

Tommy Carberry 75 Four-time champion jump jockey

David Wintle 77 Trainer of Yule Log & Relkisha

Steve Yarborough 60 Starting-stalls handler

Sam Shepard 73 Playwright, actor & breeder


Leonard Lavin 97 Owner of Glen Hill Farm

David Whiteley 72 Trainer of Revidere & Waya

Jonathan Fitzpatrick 23 Manager of Keatingstown Stud

Ann Potts 69 Joint-owner of Sizing Europe & Sizing John

James Osborne 68 Former chairman at Punchestown

Tommy Craig 81 Trainer of Goldhill's Pride & Tangles Brother

Alec Forbes 41 Rider of Highland Night & Val De Ra

Kim Rice Wingo 60 Leading US woman jockey 1975


Duke of Richmond and Gordon 87 Owner of Goodwood racecourse

Glen Swire 75 Co-owner of Pastoral Pursuits

Kent Stirling 72 Trainer of Nijinsky's Secret

Tim Riley 88 Former clerk of the course at Cartmel

Lord Cochrane of Cults 90 Owner with Nick Alexander

Jack Fisher 100 Joint-owner of Royal Heroine & Katies

Richard Watson 91 Joint-owner of Manor Farm Stud

Geoff Wragg 87 Trainer of Teenoso & Pentire

Penny Chenery 95 Co-owner-breeder of Secretariat

Buster Parnell 83 Champion jockey 1969

Harry Sprague 97 Rider of Doorknocker & Done Up


Tommy Barnes 87 Rider of Raes Gill & Wyndburgh

Liam Cosgrave 97 Turf Club member

Ian de Wesselow 86 Managing director of Raceform 1960-94

Terry Downes 81 Former boxer & bookmaker

Patrick Haslam 69 Trainer of Godstone & Kinnaird

Beverly Lewis 90 Joint-owner of Silver Charm & Charismatic

Dr Robin Kerr 83 Former steward at Sedgefield & Redcar

Mary Reveley 77 Trainer of Mellottie & Cab On Target

Tom Gentry 80 Breeder of Terlingua & Royal Academy

Jill Leek 70 Co-owner of Godfrey Street


Peggy Hagan 89 Owner of Balnaslow

Tony Durkan Owner of Anaglogs Daughter

Martin Densham 66 Principal of Sunderlands bookmakers

Willie Patton 90 Former Antrim trainer

Michael Banks 78 Former chairman at Huntingdon

Sir Richard Hardy Bt 72 Joint-owner of Solo Flight

Alan Potts 80 Joint-owner of Sizing Europe & Sizing John

Robert Courtney 96 Owner of Crestfield Farm

Gillon Aitken 84 Former stud manager at Warren Stud

David Cassidy 67 Singer & racehorse owner

Maria O'Grady 54 Wife of Edward O'Grady

Marquesa de Moratalla 87 Owner of The Fellow & Ubu

Pat Densham 95 Founder of Sunderlands bookmakers 1946


Sir John Cotterell Bt 82 Jockey Club member

Charles Cella 81 President of Oaklawn Park

Peter Walwyn 84 Champion trainer 1974 & 1975

Frank 'Bonky' Nash 79 Rider of Drinny's Double

Brian Lee 76 Champion apprentice 1961

LeRoy Jolley 79 US Hall of Fame trainer

Noel O'Brien 57 Senior jumps handicapper

Brian Murray 85 Former Malton trainer

Jack Van Berg 81 US Hall of Fame trainer

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Walwyn's two championship years coincided with the career of Grundy, champion two-year-old in 1974 and world champion in 1975
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