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Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Ken Higson, owner of Karinga Bay and Roll A Dollar, dies at 77

Ken Higson: "He was a legend to me, " said trainer Gary Moore
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Ken Higson, a colourful character whose top-level performers under both codes included Karinga Bay and Roll A Dollar, died of heart failure in hospital on Monday. He was 77.

Gary Moore, whose wins for Higson included three German Group races with Karinga Bay and the Glenlivet 4YO Hurdle with Quakers Field, recalled Higson with great fondness, while acknowledging his faults.

He said: "Ken could start an argument in an empty room, but he meant the world to me. He was a really lovable and generous guy and I couldn't speak too highly of him.

"He got my dad [Charlie Moore] a better type of horse and then he started me off as a trainer and took me to places I'd never have been to without him. He was a legend to me.

"I was lucky to have Karinga Bay in my first season training after Ken sent him to me from Denys Smith, who had done an unbelievable job on him.

“He also had No Extras, who went close in the Wokingham and Ayr Gold Cup, with me, as well as Warm Spell, who gave AP McCoy one of his bigger early wins in the Lanzarote, and Quakers Field, who won at Aintree for Dean Gallagher.

Warm Spell, ridden by a young AP McCoy, lands the 1996 Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle in the Ken Higson silks

"Ken started with Ryan Price and had good horses with Geoff Lewis and David Elsworth too. 'Elsie' trained Roll A Dollar, who won a Sagaro Stakes when ridden by Brian Rouse and who Ken let me ride in the Dovecote at Kempton. He must have been a good horse to win that day."

Moore added: "Ken loved his football too and would have been thrilled at seeing Liverpool beat Manchester City on Sunday. I knew something was up when he didn't call me to tell me how good they were and what a great coach Klopp is."

Higson will be remembered by many for having joined forces with Barney Curley in an owners' revolt at Fontwell in 1992, having a fortnight earlier attacked Plumpton for the "pathetic" and "insulting" rewards it offered.

He instructed Moore, who was riding for his father, not to set off on the 9-4 favourite Across The Card, who walked away from the rest of the field seconds before the tapes went up, causing severe disruption to the betting markets. He and Moore were each fined £1,200, as were Curley and his rider for a later incident.

Higson said at the time: "This is most certainly the saddest day of my life but I felt I had to do something to bring some sanity into a sport I love."

Moore recalled: "Ken wrote the cheques there and then to pay his fine and mine, but the incident could have cost me my training career, as the cuttings were the first thing they pulled out of the drawer when I applied for my licence."

Higson, a pharmaceuticals manufacturer, is survived by his wife Sue, son Peter and daughter Suzette.

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Ken could start an argument in an empty room but meant the world to me. He was a really lovable and generous guy. I couldn't speak too highly of him
E.W. Terms
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