CONOR O'Dwyer has thanked Fergie Sutherland for the impact he had on his riding career after the former trainer died at the age of 81.
Sutherland will be best remembered for his handling of 1996 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Imperial Call but he began training way back in 1957 at Carlburg Stables in Newmarket and enjoyed Royal Ascot success the following season.
Having moved over to County Cork in 1967 Sutherland settled and trained several big winners from there, none more so than Imperial Call.
O'Dwyer struck up a good relationship with the chaser, who won the Gold Cup as a seven-year-old.
“He was a natural character and a great man,” said O'Dwyer.
“He loved life, he loved to laugh, and used to tell some of the most amazing stories.
“I was lucky enough for him to give me my first Cheltenham winner (Imperial Call) which was, of course, one of my best days on the track.
“I only came by the horse by chance as he was Charlie Swan's ride, but Fergie stood be me and we went on to have many good days together.
“People just remember him for the Gold Cup, but everyone should remember he was a seriously good trainer - both over jumps and on the Flat.
“There was a lot more to him than people realise.”