'Gifford's popularity testified not only to his achievements but also to his passionate nature and love of life' John Randall takes a look at the racing figures who departed last year.
A great jockey who achieved the rare feat of becoming a great trainer as well, he was a boy-wonder apprentice on the Flat, champion jump jockey four times, and a leading trainer for three decades who will be remembered above all for his fairytale Grand National victory with Aldaniti.
Born in Huntingdon, the son of a farmer, Gifford rode in his first race when only 11, had his first winner at 14 and became a star apprentice on the Flat until forced by increasing weight to go over jumps.
Riding for Ryan Price, he became Britain's youngest champion jump jockey in the last 100 years at the age of 21 in 1962-63. He was champion three more times, including with a then-record score of 122 wins in 1966-67.
His mounts for Price included controversial Schweppes Gold Trophy winners Rosyth and Hill House, and Champion Hurdle runner-up Major Rose.
In 1970 Gifford retired from the saddle and took over Price's string of jumpers at Findon, Sussex. His best hurdler was Kybo, and he also had Champion Chase winner Deep Sensation and dual Mackeson victor Bradbury Star, as well as Approaching, Shady Deal and Door Latch.
Aldaniti's triumph in the 1981 Grand National was the most inspiring in the race's history because his jockey, Bob Champion, had overcome cancer. Gifford played a crucial role by patching up an old crock of a horse and staying loyal to Champion when the stable went through a lean spell earlier that season.
He was never champion trainer but was runner-up in the title race in 1987-88. He retired in 2003.
Josh Gifford's immense popularity testified not only to his dazzling achievements but also to his passionate nature and love of life.
The most distinguished Flat jockey to depart was Peter Alafi, the winningmost rider of all time in Germany, who died in August aged 76.
Alafi was champion jockey in his native Hungary before becoming champion four times in his adopted land and winning 2,307 races there between 1957 and 1992, which is still the German record. The lightweight rode German racing's only Triple Crown winner, Konigsstuhl, in 1979.
Among all jockeys past and present, the most tragic loss Campbell Gillies in a holiday swimming-pool accident on Corfu in June.
was that of Gillies, 21, was a highly promising jump jockey, having ridden Brindisi Breeze (who died in May) to victory in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March for his main trainer Lucinda Russell.
No jockey was killed while riding at a British or Irish racecourse, but Jorge Herrera sustained fatal injuries in a fall at Pleasanton, California, on July 5, and Ashlee Munday died following a fall at Kurow, New Zealand, on December 30.
v vMoyglare supremo WALTER HAEFNER of Moyglare Stud, who died in his native Switzerland on June 19 aged 101, was one of the most successful owner-breeders of the last half-century.
He founded Moyglare in County Kildare in 1962 and, with stud manager Stan Cosgrove, established it in the front rank of international studs.
The Group 1 winners who were bred and owned by him, and trained by Dermot Weld, included 2,000 Guineas victor Refuse To Bend, Belmont Stakes hero Go And Go, and Irish Classic winners Trusted Partner and Dance Design.
The two best horses he was involved with, as either owner or breeder, were Bikala and Assert, a pair of half-brothers he bred but sold cheaply as yearlings. They won consecutive renewals of the Prix du Jockey Club (1981-82) and Assert also won the Irish Derby.
He also bred, but did not own, champion sire Be My Guest (sire of Assert), Japan Cup heroine Stanerra and Melbourne Cup victor Media Puzzle. On the other hand he owned, but did not breed, champion two-year-old Super Concorde.
A Fegentri champion amateur rider, Haefner was a multi-billionaire, a self-made businessman who started as a car importer in Switzerland, diversified into other areas, and became one of the richest men in the world through his shareholding in a computer software company.
Another centenarian, Jim Powell, bred multiple Group 1-winning French filly Sanedtki and died in May, less than a week after his 100th birthday.
Jean-Pierre Binet, who died in October aged 85, was a partner in some of the Robert Sangster/Vincent O'Brien horses who dominated European racing for nearly a decade. Kings Lake, who won the Irish 2,000 Guineas and Sussex Stakes in 1981, ran in his colours.
The Frenchman scored two other Irish Classic victories: in the 2,000 Guineas with subsequent Eclipse victor Dickens Hill in 1979, and the 1,000 Guineas with Arctique Royale in 1981.
We also said farewell to Reinhard Delius, owner of the historic Gestut Ravensberg; Peter Fuller, owner of the disqualified 1968 Kentucky Derby winner Dancer's Image; Donald Little, founder of the Centennial Farms racing operation in America; and Michael Colterjohn, who died before he could receive his award as Canada's top breeder of 2011.
Among the other departed breeders, Betty Sykes (Comedy Of Errors) and Roger Chaignon (First Gold) were each responsible for an outstanding champion jumper, and the ranks of owners also lost Tim Collins (Remittance Man), Charlie Spence (Lochnager), John Greetham (Little Rock), Sheila Lockhart (Go Ballistic), Arnold Sendell (Kingscliff), Frank Caudwell (Grey Sombrero) and George Ward, who was best known for his Grunwick, Bonusprint and Tripleprint sponsorships.
The Sunday Times Rich List lost owners Jack Dellal (worth PS445 million), John Dunsdon (PS147m) and Viscount Hambleden (PS80m).
v vHistoric breakthrough AMONG the British and Irish trainers who have died in the last 12 months, the most successful was Josh Gifford but the most historic breakthrough was achieved by Helen Johnson Houghton.
Fulke Walwyn's twin sister died on December 4 at the age of 102, having become the first woman to train a British Classic winner when triumphing with Gilles De Retz in the 1956 2,000 Guineas.
However, she did not receive official credit for that feat because at the time the Jockey Club still refused to recognise women trainers.
Indeed, racing's longest-lived trainer never officially trained a winner in her life; it was not until 1966 that Florence Nagle forced the Club's capitulation on that point.
With the licence held by male nominees, Johnson Houghton had been training since the death of her husband Gordon in 1952. Her other horses included Nucleus, runner-up in the 1955 St Leger.
The pioneering trainer continued to run the yard for many years after her son Fulke took over the licence in 1960, so she deserves the credit for Romulus, Ribocco, Ribero, Ribofilio, Habitat and other stable stars.
Among the other departed women trainers, Daphne Williams was denied official credit for her Cheltenham Festival win with Dark Island in the 1958 United Hunts' Chase, but Jane Pilkington's three festival victories with Willie Wumpkins (1979-81) came after the fight for recognition had been won.
Fergie Sutherland, who died in October aged 81, had a curious two-part training career. He was based in Newmarket half a century ago, winning the Queen Mary and Falmouth Stakes, and later in Cork, where he trained Imperial Call, the 1996 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner.
Frank 'Pancho' Martin, a US Hall of Fame member, died in July aged 86. Born in Cuba, he was North America's leading prize-money trainer in 1974 and had champions Autobiography and Outstandingly, but he was best known for Sham, runner-up to Secretariat in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness in 1973.
One of his colleagues, Loyd Gentry, also died in July, having won the Kentucky Derby with 30-1 shot Proud Clarion in 1967, although his best horse was Graustark.
Heinz Jentzsch, Germany's greatest trainer, died in April aged 92. Based on number of wins he was champion 31 times, including 21 years in succession (1967-87), and numbered eight Deutsches Derbys among his record 4,029 wins between 1942 and 1999.
Jentzsch's best horses were Acatenango, whose 13 European Pattern wins (1985-87) still make him the joint-holder of the record in that category, and Lando, winner of the 1995 Japan Cup.
His compatriot Werner Baltromei, who died in May aged only 49, won Group 1 races at Longchamp on Arc day in consecutive years with Le Miracle (2007 Prix du Cadran) and Lady Marian (2008 Prix de l'Opera).
Norwegian Aage Paus, who died in June, was a multiple champion in Scandinavia and, after moving to Chantilly, trained Group 1 winners Mendip Man, Pitasia and Nadjar.
The ranks of past and present British trainers also lost Ray Laing (Roaring Riva), George Fairbairn (Rag Trade), John Akehurst (Capricho) and Joe Turner, who was for many years a dominant force in the point-to-point world, especially in East Anglia.
VVMAN of many talents JOHN OAKSEY, journalist, amateur rider, broadcaster, Injured Jockeys Fund president and one of racing's most revered characters, died on September 5, aged 83.
Oaksey was the best racing journalist of his generation and his vivid race descriptions took his readers into the thick of the action, most notably with his account of Fred Winter's miraculous victory on Mandarin in the 1962 Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris.
As an amateur rider he was champion in 1957-58 and 1970-71, won both the Whitbread and the Hennessy on Taxidermist in 1958, and was caught close home on Carrickbeg in the 1963 Grand National.
He was also a racing presenter for many years on IT Vand Channel 4, but it was his work with the IJF that will be his lasting legacy. He was one of the founding trustees of the fund and was a driving force behind the sport's highest-profile charity.
Lord Oaksey was Mr John Lawrence until inheriting the title in 1971 from his father, the senior British judge at the first and most famous Nuremberg war-crimes trial. He was originally destined for the law, and it was racing's luck that he changed careers.
Tony Sweeney, who died in December aged 81, was Ireland's foremost racing historian, and was similar to Oaksey in having a career in journalism and broadcasting.
John Sharratt, who died in March aged 87, was a Raceform race-reader for more than 40 years and has been the only one in that job to be voted racing journalist of the year.
Among the departed racing officials were Lord Hemphill, former senior steward of the Turf Club; Robert Fellowes, agent to the Jockey Club in Newmarket for 28 years; and John Lucas, clerk of the course at Market Rasen for 19 years.
The late celebrities who had been involved in racing were Monkees pop star Davy Jones (stable lad in Newmarket), 1956 Olympic boxing champion Terry Spinks (apprentice in Newmarket), 1974 World Cup final referee Jack Taylor (steward at Wolverhampton), ITV newscaster Sir Alastair Burnet (director of United Racecourses) and US actor Jack Klugman (joint owner-breeder of 1980 Kentucky Derby third Jaklin Klugman).
The longevity stakes was won by Bill Peel, a lad whose charges included dual Scottish Grand National winner Barona, and who died in July at the age of 103.
AUGUST Dai Rees 88 Sun Chariot's groom Viscount Hambleden 82 Co-owner of Lake Coniston & Tamarisk George Bisgrove 84 Joint-owner of Skipping Tim & Riverside Boy Pete Pedersen 92 Former steward in California Charlie Spence 86 Owner of Lochnager Peter Alafi76 Four-times champion jockey in Germany Mike Kentish 88 Owner of Young Ern & Young Mick SEPTEMBER JEH 'Tim' Collins 89 Owner of Remittance Man John Oaksey 83 Journalist, broadcaster & IJF president Tom Townsend 82 Former head lad to Guy Harwood Snowy Outen 87 Former head lad to Barry Hills Marjorie Easterby 80 Wife of Peter Easterby Fred Honour 89 Former racecourse bookmaker John Lovesey 79 Former associate editor of the Racing Post Eamon Cleary 52 Owner of Clearsky Farm Liam Spring 72 Bloodstock agent Jacques Barker 95 Joint-owner of Kelbomec John Lucas 79 Clerk of the course at Market Rasen 1970-89 OCTOBER Jessica Bethell 24 Assistant to James Bethell Bert House 95 Owner of Tiepolino & How's Yer Father Jean-Pierre Binet 85 Joint-owner of Dickens Hill & Kings Lake Roger Nataf 95 French bloodstock agent Jack Dellal 89 Owner of Fair World Daphne (Williams) Major 80 Owner-trainer of Dark Island Fergie Sutherland 81 Trainer of A.20 & Imperial Call NOVEMBER Audre Cappuccitti 66 Trainer of Deputy Inxs & Essence Hit Man Mathieu Giovannelli 86 Rider of Vareta & Snob Derek Harding-Jones Owner of Double Turn Joe Turner 93 Former Bury St Edmunds trainer Denis Haynes 80 Joint-owner of Wretham Stud Elaine Wilson 78 Owner of Sam Da Vinci & Upham Lord John Greetham 82 Breeder of Arctic Owl & Little Rock Swannie Haldane 73 Rider of Pappageno's Cottage & Slaves Dream DECEMBER Ken Whitehead 64 Former Malton trainer Helen Johnson Houghton 102 Trainer of Nucleus & Gilles De Retz Tony Sweeney 81 Journalist & historian Roger Chaignon 86 Breeder of First Gold Mary O'Grady 88 Mother of Edward O'Grady Joe Allbritton 87 Owner of Hansel & Bad As I Wanna Be Sheila Lockhart 64 Owner of Go Ballistic Martin Burdett-Coutts 86 Bloodstock agent Larry Mabee 69 Owner of Golden Eagle Farm Max Kingsley 79 Ritz Club sponsor Philip De Vere Hunt Owner of Ardmayle House Stud Jack Klugman 90 Joint owner-breeder of Jaklin Klugman JANUARY Peter Gibbons 62 Owner of Skara Stud Mitch Shirota 78 Trainer of Firm Stance Theo Howe 82 Trainer of Gleaming Waters & King Phoenix Betty Sykes 86 Breeder of Comedy Of Errors & City Entertainer Mary Hall 92 Widow of Charlie Hall Lord Somerleyton 83 Former steward at Yarmouth & Fakenham Ronnie Hedley-Dent 90 Former inspector of courses Jim Ratcliffe 70 Former racehorse transporter Mike Tammaro 57 Trainer of Golden Choice FEBRUARY Josh Gifford 70 Four-times champion jump jockey Christian Marner 71 Former joint-owner of Kingwood Stud Richard Baker 79 Former steward at Kempton & Lingfield Tony Shrive 76 Rider of Ashurst Wonder & Vilmoray Bruce Deane 79 Former Tattersalls director Donald Little 77 Founder & chairman of Centennial Farms Davy Jones 66 Former stable lad & Monkee MARCH Teresa Elwell 59 Cropredy point-to-point trainer John Akehurst 50 Trainer of Capricho & Mac Love John Sharratt 87 Former senior Raceform race-reader Marje Everett 90 President of Hollywood Park 1985-91 Peter Schmanns 79 Former senior handicapper in Germany Reinhard Delius 89 Owner of Gestut Ravensberg Bud Klokstad 79 Trainer of Chinook Pass Dr Michael Colterjohn 55 President of Gardiner Farms APRIL Eddie Butler 47 Former Curragh trainer Lord Hemphill 83 Senior steward of the Turf Club 1985-88 Shaun Cunningham 73 Owner of Miss Nosey Parker & Donna Blini Robert Fellowes 80 Agent to the Jockey Club 1964-92 Roger Nicholls 68 Owner-breeder of Ollie Magern Hilary Needler 91 Sponsor at Beverley Harold McCormick 83 Co-owner of Rachel Alexandra Audrey Hall 91 Widow of Sam Hall Heinz Jentzsch 92 31-times champion trainer in Germany George Ward 79 Grunwick, Bonusprint & Tripleprint sponsor Terry Spinks 74 Former apprentice & Olympic boxing champion MAY Peter Fuller 89 Owner of Dancer's Image & Mom's Command Salome Brennan Breeder of Mister Morose & Albertas Run Sir William Barlow 87 Co-owner of Housemaster & Kyllachy Arnold Sendell 80 Owner of Kingscliff Jim (CJ) Powell 100 Breeder of Sanedtki & Stanford Jane Pilkington 89 Owner-trainer of Willie Wumpkins Caroline Guest 88 Widow of Raymond Guest Werner Baltromei 49 Trainer of Le Miracle & Lady Marian JUNE Sean Miller 23 Kimberley trainer George Fairbairn 84 Trainer of Rag Trade & Fair View Elvis Perrodin 55 Former US jockey William Stirling 94 Trainer of Nijinsky's Secret John Dunsdon 60 Owner of Joly Bey Alex Maese 83 Rider of TV Lark & Olden Times Martin Kinane 56 Rider of Silent Surrender Walter Haefner 101 Founder of Moyglare Stud Aage Paus 75 Seven-times champion trainer in Sweden Campbell Gillies 21 Rider of Lie Forrit & Brindisi Breeze Ray Laing 89 Trainer of Crime Of Passion & Roaring Riva Andy Doyle Owner of Just For Mary Gordon MacDonald 73 Owner of Quizair JULY Loyd Gentry 87 Trainer of Graustark & Proud Clarion Frank Caudwell 94 Owner of Grey Sombrero Bill Peel 103 Barona's groom David Pitcher 77 Owner-rider of Brown Trix Dr John Charlesworth 67 Steward at Southwell Frank 'Pancho' Martin 86 US Hall of Fame trainer Sir Alastair Burnet 84 Former director of United Racecourses Peter Feilden 77 Former Exning trainer Jack Taylor 82 Former steward at Wolverhampton
Campbell Gillies: tragic holiday accident
Tony Sweeney: Ireland's foremost racing historian
So farewell (clockwise, from left): John Oaksey, Josh Gifford, Fergie Sutherland and Helen Johnson Houghton