Racing

Grand National legend Carberry dies

Loss of one of only four men to ride and train the winner of the world's most famous steeplechase

Tommy Carberry, one of only four men to ride and train the winner of the world's most famous steeplechase - the Grand National - has died, after a long illness.

He was 75.

Carberry, who saw four of his seven children, including daughter Nina become succesful jockeys in their own right, rode L'Escargot to victory in the 1975 Grand National to deny his great rival Red Rum his third successive victory.

Following that triumph, Ireland was made to wait 24 years for another victory in the race, with the Carberry family ending the drought as Bobbyjo, trained by Tommy and ridden by his son Paul, came home clear in 1999.

"As the massive crowd cheered me on the run-in, I stole a quick glance at the big screen and saw I was 10 lengths clear coming to the line.

"The feeling was incredible," recounted Paul in his autobiography of that day.

"I stood up and punched the air. I had done it. We had done it. The Aintree Grand National. Just like Dad. Just for Dad."

Aside from that memorable day, Carberry senior, who also trained Bobbyjo to win the Irish Grand National in 1998, enjoyed much more success in the saddle than as a trainer.

He won the blue riband event of National Hunt racing - the Cheltenham Gold Cup - three times, including twice on L'Escargot, and his elegant style drew handsome tributes from the racing fraternity on his passing away.

Former champion trainer Noel Meade described Carberry as "a genius in the saddle".

"Tommy could ride a horse to win from the front one day and hold him and win the next day," said Meade.

"He was a fabulous tactician and judge of pace. He just had that natural talent that is so hard to come by - it is bred in him." - AFP

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