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Death of rising star Woollacott.

Byline: DAVID YATES

RICHARD JOHNSON yesterday spoke of his huge shock over the premature death -- at just 40 -- of trainer Richard Woollacott.

Devon-based Woollacott, a champion point-to-point jockey and trainer, took out a full licence in 2008 and gained his highest-profile victory when 40-1 shot Beer Goggles, ridden by Johnson, landed the Grade 2 Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury in December.

Woollacott also gained a big win at last year's Grand National fixture at Aintree with Lalor, again ridden by Johnson and a strong fancy for next month's Betfair Hurdle.

"It's a massive shock," said champion jockey Johnson.

"I've been lucky to have a couple of nice winners for Richard but I've known him since his point-to-point days and he was a trainer who worked very hard and did the job well.

"He was a lovely fellow to have around. He always had a smile on his face at the races and it's very sad."

Trainer Paul Nicholls tweeted: "A top-class man and a top-class trainer, he will be much missed by so many." A spokesman for the South Molton stable said: "May we ask that you respect the family's privacy at this most difficult time."

CAPTION(S):

TOP CLASS Woollacott was 'always smiling' at the races

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 24, 2018
Words:207
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