'Larger than life' racehorse owner and publican Seamus McAlister dies
One of the best known faces in horse racing in Northern Ireland has died.
Seamus McAlister - also well-known through his Belfast pub The Morning Star - was described by friends as "always larger than life".
His passion was horse racing but he also owned the occasional greyhound.
He was a well-known figure on racecourses and point to points throughout Ireland and had considerable success as an owner with horses such as Bear Witness, Strongpoint and Aladdin's Cave - a Galway Festival winner he owned in partnership with the late Rodney Watson.
Despite being diagnosed with cancer last year, he continued apace with his lifestyle, enjoying every minute and making the effort to be on hand when he had runners, even arranging to be picked up from hospitals and a hospice to attend meetings.
His last winner came when Strongpoint won at Naas in February and appropriately was backed into favourite on the day as Seamus always enjoyed a "touch" with bookmakers, many of whom were close friends.
Seamus was also a highly respected figure in the local beef industry in the 1960s and '70s and in recent years he and his wife Corrine became synonymous with one of Belfast's oldest pubs, as they took over ownership of The Morning Star.