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Vet and jumps enthusiast Dowling dies aged 83

Brendan O'Ruairc: long-time friend of Bill Dowling
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Veterinary surgeon and long-time jump racing enthusiast Bill Dowling has died aged 83 following a short illness.

Paying tribute to his friend of many years on Tuesday, racing journalist and broadcaster Brendan O'Ruairc said: "Bill was a true gentleman who loved his racing. He had no interest in Flat racing but he loved the jumping game and was a great student of form.

"This year was the first time in over 50 years that he missed the Cheltenham Festival. He was a regular racegoer, a shrewd punter and a very good judge. His opinion was sought by many trainers when they'd meet him at the races. He was very popular with all who knew him."

O'Ruairc added: "He was involved in racehorse ownership for many years with his great friend Micheal Fitzgibbon, who died in 2011. They had horses with different trainers including Paddy Sleator and Ted Curtin. They had many winners, including Cart It, Auriga, Mont Etoile and Lent Lily."

Dowling, who died in Aut Even Hospital in Kilkenny on Monday, is survived by his wife Nuala, daughters Dearbhla and Orla, and brother Larry.

He will be reposing in Ryan's Funeral Home, Slievenamon Road, Thurles from 6pm to 8pm on Wednesday. Burial in St Peter's cemetery, Moycarkey, County Tipperary will follow Thursday's funeral mass at St Peter's Church at 11.30am.

This year was the first time in over 50 years that he missed the Cheltenham Festival. He was a regular racegoer, a shrewd punter and a very good judge
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