Praise from far and wide after death of brilliant trainer Malcolm Jefferson
Tributes poured in from across the country for multiple Cheltenham Festival-winning trainer Malcolm Jefferson, who died on Friday morning after a long illness. He was 71.
His daughter Ruth has taken over the licence at Newstead Cottage Stables in Malton, North Yorkshire – from where Jefferson enjoyed numerous successes in a 37-year career – and will saddle two runners at Wetherby on Saturday.
Jefferson started out as travelling head man to the late Gordon Richards, whose son Nicky said: "It's a sad day. I've known him most of my life, he started with father and he learned to ride a horse at Greystoke.
"Malcolm worked hard for father and learned as much as he could. He was a very good man and a very good trainer, his record speaks for itself. He bought a nice horse, usually for not very much money and he had some very good ones."
Jefferson's fellow Malton trainer John Quinn added: "He was a brilliant trainer and every time he got a good horse he did a great job with it. He'll be sadly missed."
Champion trainer Nicky Henderson said: "He was a lovely man and a very talented trainer. We’d always see him when we went north, and he was always cheerful."
Brian Hughes, who rode 131 winners for Jefferson in the last five seasons, added: "He hadn't been well for more than a year but he put up a good fight and until the last week or two always came out to see the horses in the morning, he didn't let it get to him.
"His family were always around and very supportive, which was a great help to him. He was a great trainer who had some lovely horses.
"From my own point of view he has been a massive influence in my career, probably more so than anybody else. I rode a lot of winners for him and like everyone else I will miss him greatly."
Fellow trainers pay tribute
It is very sad news. In some ways Malcolm has carried the north for the last few years. He was a fine trainer, much respected and a very nice person as well.
He was a really nice person. His horses always looked well and he always placed them well and was a very, very good trainer
It’s very, very sad. I can’t say I knew him very well, but he always seemed an absolute gentleman.
It is sad news, he was a very good trainer and a very good guy.
Jefferson set up training on his own in 1981 and had his first winner with Mark Edelson in a bumper at Perth.
He had his first success at the Cheltenham Festival with Tindari in the Pertemps Hurdle Final in 1994 and the following year he sent out Dato Star to win the Champion Bumper, which made him the first British trainer to land the race.
Dato Star went on to prove a top-notch hurdler with wins in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton and Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle.
In 2012 Jefferson had a Cheltenham Festival double with Cape Tribulation and Attaglance, both of whom followed up at the Grand National meeting at Aintree.
Jefferson died with his wife and four children at his side and the family said in a statement: "We would like to thank everybody for the kindness and support they have given during recent months."
Ruth Jefferson runs Special Catch and Only Orvieto at Wetherby on Saturday and said: "You have to start somewhere and the horses are fit and ready to run. I always wanted to train but these are not the circumstances I would have chosen."
Tributes from across racing
The Greatest Man I have ever met. Malcolm Jefferson was more than just a boss, but a true friend. I owe everything to this man as without him I wouldn’t have had a successful riding career nor become the man I am today. RIP Mr Jefferson— George Chaloner (@Chaloner1George) February 2, 2018
Saddened to hear the passing of Malcom Jefferson, who battled his illness with such grit. A first class trainer and will be sorely missed. Thoughts from all at team Ditcheat with his family and friends. May he rest in peace.— Paul Nicholls (@PFNicholls) February 2, 2018
Very sad to hear about the the passing of Malcolm Jefferson. Many great days were spent racing together at Gordon Richards. My thoughts are with Sue and his family.— Jonjo O'Neill (@JonjoONeill) February 2, 2018
Statement from BHA Chief Executive Nick Rust following the sad passing of Malcolm Jefferson: pic.twitter.com/nupeDblsex— BHA Press Office (@BHAPressOffice) February 2, 2018
So sad to hear the news about Malcolm Jefferson— FergalO’Brien Racing (@FOBRacing) February 2, 2018
A gentleman and one hell of a trainer
Thoughts with his family, friends and stable staff
Devastated to hear that Malcolm Jefferson has passed away this morning. He was one of racing’s finest, a true horseman, a true gent. RIP Malcolm pic.twitter.com/AmhxKBTXag— Go Racing in Yorks (@YorkshireRacing) February 2, 2018