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Former jump jockey and Perth legend Sam Morshead dies at 63

Sam Morshead: died aged 63 after a long battle with cancer
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Sam Morshead, a successful jump jockey and later the driving force behind Perth racecourse for so many years, has died at the age of 63.

He had fought a long battle with cancer and died at home in Perthshire, surrounded by his family.

“It’s very sad but it was very peaceful,” said his ex-wife Anthea. Morshead was born and brought up in Ireland to Cornish parents and won on his first ride in point-to-points as a teenager but moved to England after riding eight winners as an amateur.

He had a highly successful career as a professional, riding for Fred and Mercy Rimell in the 1970s and 1980s.

Arguably the most prestigious among the more than 400 races he won was the Queen Mother Champion Chase on Another Dolly in 1980 but that victory came two months after the event on the disqualification of first-past-the-post Chinrullah for a test for a prohibited substance.

He will be better remembered for his association with the likes of Gaye Chance, on whom he won the then Sun Alliance Novices' Hurdle and Stayers' Hurdle at Cheltenham, and Gaye Brief, whom he rode to victory in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle.

Morshead also rode future Gold Cup winner Royal Frolic and finished third in the Champion Hurdle on Very Promising and Stan's Pride before being forced to quit the saddle after a fall at Worcester in 1987.

Sam Morshead (right) with Gordon Elliott at Perth in 2015

But that was the prelude to an arguably even more successful career in racecourse management that began under the tutelage of David McHarg in Scotland.

He became clerk of the course at Perth in 1988 and general manager in 1994 and held that position until forced to give it up due to ill health in 2015.

In that time he transformed Britain's most northerly course, attracting bigger crowds and drawing runners from all the top southern jumps yards.

He oversaw £6million of developments and had perhaps his proudest moment when The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall were among a crowd of 12,000 for a meeting at Perth in August 2011.

He leaves three sons - Charlie and Harry by his first wife Annabelle, and Henry, by his second wife Anthea. His third wife Sue died in 2015.

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It?s very sad but it was very peaceful

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