Downpatrick jockey Declan lands seven winners

Downpatrick jockey Declan lands seven winners

22 April 2020

DESPITE the fact that the 2019-20 season has been curtailed, it is good to record that Downpatrick amateur jockey Declan Lavery rode an excellent tally of seven winners, one ahead of Banbridge farrier Mark O’Hare during the season.

It is notable that while Lavery is based with Paddy Turley at Downpatrick, he rode his winners for Southern-based trainers like John Ryan and Luke Conner. O’Hare has the advantage as he is stable amateur to Navan trainer Noel Meade.

Noel McParlan also got on the scoreboard and he was the top local point-to-point rider.

Last week proved to be a sad one for local racing on Easter Sunday as Dr Fitz Gillespie, MBE, passed away suddenly at the age of 88. He was the GP in Tynan, Co Armagh, for 44 years.

Dr Gillespie was one of the nicest men that I have ever met and was a long serving member of the Turf Club and IHRB. Although I don’t remember him riding, I know he did so for many years, and was also a trainer and owned horses right up to 2008.

His son, Pat, also rode as an amateur and professional, spending a good bit of his riding days with Jeremy Maxwell at Ballee. I can recall him winning on Raise An Argument at Downpatrick. Like his father, he also trained and one of his locally based owners was Joe McGrath, from Annacloy.

Dr Gillespie was a regular steward at local meetings and also at many Southern racecourses. He was also a good supporter of the former Downpatrick Racecourse Supporters Club. He acted as a steward at the Armagh PTSP on April 22.

He is predeceased by his first wife, Dr Barbara, and also Lady Jane Alexander. He is survived by sons Pat and Rollo, daughter Gael, son-in-law, daughters-in-law and grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held for Dr Gillespie at a later date as the funeral was private due to Covid-19. He will be a huge loss to the sport of horse racing.

It was also sad to learn this past week of the passing of the wife of former Newtownards 

amateur and well known horseman Albert Lowry and the widow of former amateur Sammy