'It's tragic' – Controversial trainer Shaun Keightley dies aged 62 as tributes pour in | The Sun

RACING has been plunged into mourning following the death of former jockey and trainer Shaun Keightley at the age of 62.

Tributes for the Cheltenham Festival-winning horseman poured in – with his passing described as "tragic".

Keightley rode more than 200 winners on the Flat and over jumps.

But his name may best be remembered by some for his controversial ban from the sport in 2005.

Keightley was suspended for three years and banned from applying for a licence for a further two after after the running of Red Lancer at Wolverhampton in October 2003.

The incident saw Keightley become the first trainer in 20 years to be warned off the course.

He was found guilty of breaking five rules including instructing jockey Pat McCabe "not to ride Red Lancer on its merits, but instead to ride in such a way as to ensure that it would lose and/or not be placed."

That arguably overshadowed an otherwise hugely successful career in racing, which continued with winners right up until last year.

The pinnacle possibly came in 1989.

That year he won the Coral Golden Hurdle Final on Rogers Princess at March's Cheltenham Festival.

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Three months later he won the Listed John Of Gaunt Stakes on the Flat at Haydock with Weldnaas.

As a trainer he sent out almost 50 winners from his yard near Newmarket over two spells before and after the ban.

Josephine Gordon rode 25 winners for Keightley and expressed her sadness at his passing.

She told the Racing Post: "It's very sad. He was a loved and well respected man, a brilliant jockey and a proper horseman. He'll be missed.

"He was a big supporter of mine, he was my boss and my mate as well. He was easy to ride for and you always had a good laugh.

"When it came to the track there was no instruction, just go out and do your best – and if he said they had a chance, they certainly did."

Former Newcastle Star turned trainer Mick Quinn said: "Even when his illness took its toll he was still looking on the positive side of life."

While trainer Darryll Holland added: "I don't think he let on how poorly he was and I only texted him the other day. It's tragic."

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