Willie made a massive contribution to racing and will be sadly missed
Former Ballycarry-based trainer Willie Patton sadly passed away yesterday morning aged 90.
The Patton family have a long, distinguished and ongoing association with racing and point to points which has resulted in a dynasty of top amateur riders.
Willie, prior to his training career, was a formidable rider in point to points and on the course.
He won on Nuns Hope, owned and trained by his father, in 1947 and was associated with other top class horses including Khalegs Gift.
Willie trained Downpatrick specialist Jim's Choice to win multiple races for Peggy Hagan who sadly passed away only last week, the pair class mates in their days at school.
Three members of the Patton family won on Jim's Choice - Robert, his sister Jane and husband John Bright.
Eagle's Run was another multiple winner for the Larne trainer and provided son Robert with his first winner aged 16.
The ill-fated South Sea Native was by far the classiest horse Willie trained.
South Sea Native won both his bumper and maiden hurdle with Robert in the saddle from his six starts prior to being fatally injured at Navan in the Millennium year.
Willie was a regular visitor to his grandson Jonjo Bright who sustained life changing injuries in a point to point fall.
Willie ceased training when aged 80 but continued to follow racing while looking after his stock on the home farm.
He passed away at his daughter Jane's home following a period in hospital.
The funeral will take place tomorrow at noon with a service at Magheramorne Presbyterian Church near Larne. Condolences are extended to the large family circle and Willie will be greatly missed by all the racing fraternity and his many friends.