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Obituary: Carberry hit heights as jockey and trainer

By Ron McKnight and Keith Hamer

Tommy Carberry, one of the greatest jockeys to ever sit in a saddle, passed away yesterday aged 75. Carberry will be remembered most for both riding and training winners of the Aintree Grand National in a glittering career.

The legendary rider won the Cheltenham Gold Cup twice on L'Escargot - in 1970 beating the Ulster-owned and trained French Tan, and in 1971 prior to partnering the horse for his father-in-law, the late trainer Dan Moore, to win the Grand National in 1975 and deny Red Rum a third successive victory in the race.

During his training career Carberry combined with his very talented son Paul to again claim the World's greatest steeplechase with Bobbyjo in a memorable renewal of the big race in 1999.

Carberry rode in his first race in 1958 and was Irish Champion Apprentice the following year. He retired from race riding in 1982 and started a training career.

Carberry supplied a family of great jockeys, including dual Irish Champion Jump Jockey Paul, who himself recently retired, Nina Carberry, regarded as possibly the greatest female jockey riding today, and Philip Carberry, who claimed the Champion Hurdle in 2007 on Sublimity.

Frank Berry, now Racing Manager for JP McManus, who shared the Irish Jump Jockeys' Championship with Carberry in 1975 - one of Carberry's four titles - paid tribute to his friend, saying: "It's very sad news. Tommy and myself went back a long way.

"We rode against one another and travelled a lot together.

"He was both a marvellous horseman and a great jockey.

"When he started training I was lucky enough to ride a few winners for him.

"He was a legend and passed on a lot to his sons and to Nina."

Son Paul confirmed the news of his death yesterday.

He said: "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."

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.

Carberry also won the blue riband of jump racing on Ten Up, but was denied a fourth success when Tied Cottage, who was first past the post in 1980, was later disqualified on a technicality.

He also won the Irish Grand National on Brown Lad in 1975 and 1976. Noel Meade is intrinsically linked to the Carberry family, with Paul filling the role as stable jockey during his career, while Nina has ridden as an amateur for the yard as well as operating as a racing assistant for Meade.

However, the handler's connection to Tommy Carberry goes back further than that and Meade 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.

"I always enjoyed meeting him, and going for a drink with him in Ratoath.

"He was a genius in the saddle, and Paul was very like him.

"He was nearly a carbon copy of him."

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