President Higgins leads tributes as widow of racing icon O'Brien dies
President Michael D Higgins has led tributes to Jacqueline O'Brien, widow of the racing icon Vincent O'Brien, after she passed away at the age of 89.
Mrs O'Brien died early yesterday morning in a Dublin hospital.
Her husband Vincent, who passed away in 2009 at the age of 92, headed the Ballydoyle dynasty and dominated the National Hunt racing scene before championing the flat.
Daughter of a noted Australian politician, she married Mr O'Brien in 1951 and was closely involved with her husband's achievements.
Mrs O'Brien was also known for her bestselling books and will also be remembered for her philanthropic work.
President Higgins said that Mrs O'Brien had had a vast influence on racing in Ireland.
"I have learned with great sadness of the death of Jacqueline O'Brien, who in her partnership with Vincent O'Brien, made such an enormous contribution to the reputation of Ireland as a leading country for breeding and training horses," President Higgins said last night.
"As an author and photographer she produced some of the most beautiful works on the great Irish houses and castles and on the significant architecture of Dublin.
"Sabina and I were privileged to know her."
Horse Racing Ireland chief executive Brian Kavanagh said her passing, on the opening day of Cheltenham, was poignant.