Tributes have been coming in for Patsy Byrne
Last Updated: 30/09/13 4:05pm
White Star Line: Won the Kerry National for the late Patsy Byrne
Tributes have been coming in from throughout the racing world after news of the death of Patsy Byrne.
The Irishman was an admired figure around the greyhound and horseracing circuit.
Byrne's pink and blue colours were seen carried to victory only recently by White Star Line in the Kerry National at Listowel, while he won this season's Northumberland Plate at Newcastle with the Jonjo O'Neill-trained Tominator.
He founded the Byrne Group firm, which has been involved in the construction of buildings such as the Olympic Stadium, the Emirates Stadium, Stamford Bridge and the new Centre and Number One Court at Wimbledon, in 1969 with his brother Johnny.
An enthusiast of all Irish sports, he was involved with top dogs like Cool Performance and Ballinderry Ash as well as enjoying major success on the coursing scene.
Dessie Hughes, who trains White Star Line, said: "I can't believe it. It's totally out of the blue. As far as I know he got out of bed and collapsed.
"He was a great character and was at Listowel to see White Star Line win the Kerry National a couple of weeks ago, which was fantastic for him.
"He was a great man who loved his horses and his dogs and anything to do with sport really. He'll leave an enormous gap for everybody that anything to do with him."
O'Neill tweeted: "We have been hit with some really sad news today, that our great friend Patsy Byrne has died suddenly.
"He was a very special person. Bridget and her family are very much in our thoughts."
Jockey Wayne Lordan remembered a good association he struck up with the Byrne-owned Tolpuddle back in 2004.
He said: "It's very sad news to hear and my thoughts are with his family. Tolpuddle won the Irish Lincolnshire and I won a couple of Listed races on him. Patsy was a true gentleman. He loved his racing and he loved his dogs."
Tony McCoy said: "Sad news about Patsy Byrne, a great man & friend,big loss 2 the racing and greyhound world, thoughts with his wife Bridget & family"
McCoy's fellow champion jockey Richard Hughes, who rode Byrne horses for Richard Hannon, said: "A great man sadly will be missed Patsy Byrne."
Trainer Brendan Powell tweeted: "Sad to hear about the passing of Patsy Byrne. Rode winners for him back in the days of Les Kennard. A generous and lovely man. RIP."
Oliver Sherwood said: "Very sad to hear Patsy Byrne has passed away - had some good times with Manorson."
Sean Bourke, a friend of Byrne who trained his Cool Performance to win the Irish Greyhound Derby in 2001, told At The Races: "He was the straightest person I've ever dealt with. He loved his dogs and I'd say he preferred a good dog to a good horse, anyway.
"He kept all the Irish going in England, if anyone had a friend looking for work, he'd always look after them and he was great to the Irish guys over there. But he never left his roots and he loved the banter in the local pub. He was just one in a million really."
One of his closest friends was Punchestown general manager Dick O'Sullivan and the racecourse tweeted: "R.I.P Patsy Byrne. He was a great friend to us here at Punchestown. Our thoughts are with his family."