Sunday 17 December 2017

Glowing tributes for 'icon' Tommy Carberry


A legend in racing: Tommy Carberry. Photo: Connolly Collection / Sportsfile
A legend in racing: Tommy Carberry. Photo: Connolly Collection / Sportsfile

Johnny Ward

Glowing tributes have been paid to one of the leading figures in Irish jump racing, Tommy Carberry, who passed away yesterday at the age of 75.

Hailed by Ted Walsh as "an icon of his era and any era," the father of Paul and Nina, as well as four other sons, Carberry joined a select list by both riding and training a Grand National winner, and was one of the most popular figures in the sport. He was married to Pamela, a sister of fellow trainer Arthur Moore.

Son Paul said last night: "He passed away just before lunchtime today. He'd been ill for a while and fought it for a long time. He gave me a Grand National winner and has been great for Irish racing. He got the best out of everything he produced."

Tommy rode the lion-hearted L'Escargot - trained by his father-in-law Dan Moore - to victory in the Aintree Grand National in 1975, when he beat the legendary Red Rum, which was bidding for a third successive victory in the race. Carberry also rode L'Escargot to successive Cheltenham Gold Cups in 1970 and 1971.

When he retired from riding, Tommy started training and, with his son Paul as jockey, he won the 1998 Irish Grand National with Bobbyjo which went to Liverpool the following year and landed the Aintree spectacular.

Frank Berry, who shared the Irish jump jockeys' championship with Carberry in 1975, said that he had many great memories of his long-time friend.

"It's very sad news, an awfully sad day for racing," Berry said. "Tommy and I went back a long way. We rode against one another and travelled together. He was a top-class jockey.

“He was a marvellous horseman – whether he was riding a chaser or a two-year-old it was all the one to Tommy Carberry. I don’t think we ever had cross words.”

“I was privileged then to ride winners for him as a trainer. With the ammunition he had, he did a marvellous job.

“As a man, he was simply straightforward, such a good fellow. My sympathies to his wife Pamela and his entire family. He was a legend and passed on a lot to his sons and to Nina.”

Brian Kavanagh, CEO of Horse Racing Ireland, also paid tribute. “Tommy was champion apprentice and in 1979 rode Fordham to success for Vincent O’Brien in the race which would evolve into the Irish Champion Stakes.

“He will be forever remembered for riding top jumpers like L’Escargot and Tied Cottage, and the Dreapers’ Ten Up; and landing successes in iconic races such as the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Aintree Grand National.”

Ted Walsh, whose son of that name is married to Tommy’s daughter Nina, said: “He was one of the great riders of his era, or of any era, a great man on the big day. He was a grand man, an unassuming fellow who wore success lightly on his shoulders. He handled pressure well.

“The horse I always will remember when thinking of him is L’Escargot. For him to ride a winner and train a winner of the National means he is part of a very select club of people.”

Born in County Meath, Carberry soon made his mark as a jockey and was a multiple champion National Hunt rider in Ireland in the 1970s.  He enjoyed great success on L’Escargot, and also won the blue riband of jump racing on Ten Up. He also won the Irish Grand National on Brown Lad in 1975 and 1976.

Noel Meade is intrinsically linked to the Carberry family and hailed him as a “genius in the saddle”.

Meade said: “He was a legend, and a hero of mine from when I was a kid.

“He rode the first winner I had in Galway on Larks Venture. I think it was just the second winner I’d had at the time after Tu Va, and he rode a good few for me.

“He was a genius in the saddle, and Paul was very like him. He was nearly a carbon copy of him.”

Irish Independent

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