Tributes paid to icons of Irish horse racing

Two icons of Irish racing, Marguerite (Gita) Weld and Johnny Harrington, have passed away.

Tributes paid to icons of Irish horse racing

Mrs Weld, 98, the mother of legendary trainer, Dermot, was an owner and breeder and wife of the late Charlie Weld, who predeceased her by many years and was a trainer on the Curragh.

Gita was a particularly sharp lady and took enormous pride in the worldwide exploits of her famous son.

She owned and bred Nightime, who was trained by Dermot to land the Irish 1000 Guineas at the Curragh in 2006.

Johnny Harrington, 77, had fought a long battle with cancer. He trained on a small scale, until his wife, Jessica, took over the licence in the late 80s, and was probably better known as a respected bloodstock agent.

He reportedly played a big part in the purchase of two of the stars of the Harrington yard, the brilliant Moscow Flyer and Macs Joy.

Johnny was too ill to make the Cheltenham festival last month, when his wife enjoyed one of her greatest successes with Jezki in the Champion Hurdle.

Jockey Barry Geraghty said: “It’s very sad news.

“He’s obviously not been well for a long time.

“I’ve been involved with him for years and he’s been a big part of everything that went on at the yard.

“He had a big say in the buying of horses like Moscow Flyer and Macs Joy, but he also had plenty of input into the training side of things as well.”

“When Jezki won the Champion Hurdle, we were all thinking of Johnny.”

“I know he had a full house that day and a bit of a party, which was nice.”

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