Triple Irish Classic hero Ryan 'Buster' Parnell dies aged 83
Kevin Prendergast paid tribute on Monday to Ryan 'Buster' Parnell, who has died in Copenhagen at the age of 83, describing the former Irish champion Flat jockey as "good fun to be around and a very good horseman".
Parnell was champion Flat jockey in Ireland in 1969 after riding 59 winners and won three Classics during his career – Atherstone Wood (1967 Irish 2,000 Guineas), Mistigo (1968 Irish 2,000 Guineas) and Miralla (1975 Irish 1,000 Guineas).
Prendergast said: "Buster was a really nice fella and a very good horseman. He rode a lot for my father Paddy and was a very good judge. He was always good fun to be around.
"His son David rode a lot for me and he was a brilliant rider too. He was a champion apprentice and was still with me when he was tragically killed. They were both very talented riders."
Parnell was born in Fulham, London, and rode his first winner in 1950 on Luseweed at Lanark.
He was an apprenticed to Willie Stephenson and became a talented boxer, representing Stephenson’s yard in 68 unbeaten bouts at the Cambridge Corn Exchange. Boxing helped him strengthen up in the saddle too and he twice chased home Lester Piggott in the apprentices' championship in Britain.
A compulsory two-year national service in the Royal Air Force interrupted Parnell career as a jockey, but he continued boxing, adding a further 30 victories to his name.
Having spent a stint riding in Singapore, Parnell moved to Denmark where he quickly became champion jockey and it was there he met his wife Anne, an accomplished amateur horsewoman.
The Parnells had two children, Tina and David, his son tragically dying in a car crash in 1990, having established himself a top-class rider with Kevin Prendergast on the Curragh.
Parnell and Paddy Prendergast formed a formidable partnership, their most successful season comong in 1969, at the end of which he was crowned champion. Outside Ireland, Parnell's biggest win came in the 1973 King Edward VII Stakes on Klairvimy.
Having ridden in Ireland, Britain, Denmark, Singapore, Kenya, India and South Africa, Parnell retired from the saddle in 1986.
Full name Ryan Farnham Parnell
Born Fulham, London, May 9, 1934
Father Cyril Parnell (haulage contractor)
Apprenticed to Willie Stephenson 1949-53
First winner Luesweed, Lanark, July 20, 1950
Irish Classic winners Atherstone Wood (1967 2,000 Guineas), Mistigo (1968 2,000 Guineas), Miralla (1975 1,000 Guineas)
Group winner in Britain Klairvimy (1973 King Edward VII Stakes)
Other notable winners Stan (1952 Greensleeves Stakes), Gold (1959 100 Aars Jubilaemslob, 1962 Skandinavisk Cup), Master Buck (1964 Gallinule Stakes), Atherstone Wood (1967 Gallinule Stakes), Fatima's Gift (1967 Phoenix Stakes), Decies (1969 National Stakes), Eucalyptus (1970 Ballymoss Stakes), Rarity (1971 Ballymoss Stakes), Lombardo (1971 Player-Wills Stakes), Seafriend (1971 Nijinsky Stakes), Boreen (1972 Player-Wills Stakes, Prix Gontaut-Biron), Bunkered (1972 Whitehall Stakes), Miralla (1975 Athasi Stakes)
Champion jockey in Ireland 1969 (59 wins)
Compiled by John Randall