The late Tom Townsend

TOM Townsend, formerly of Jerpoint, Thomastown, passed away last month at the age of 82.

TOM Townsend, formerly of Jerpoint, Thomastown, passed away last month at the age of 82.

A highly-respected member of the horse-racing community, Tom first entered the sport in 1947. He served his apprenticeship with Lambourn trainer Atty Persse, before going on to work with Geoffrey Brooke and Doug Smith, training with the well-known McAlmont family who owned Mount Juliet at the time.

In 1977, he moved to Pullborough on the Sussex Downs as head lad to Guy Hardwood, with whom he spent the next 16 years in the the era of greats such as ‘Dancing Brave’, ‘Warning’, ‘Kalaglow’, ‘To-Agori-Mou’, ‘Indian King’ and ‘Recitation’.

“Dancing Brave was the best horse I was associated with,” Tom once recalled, of the colt which lost out to ‘Shahrastani’ in the 1986 Derby.

“He should have won the Derby – but then, that’s racing.”

Living in Newmarket in England, Tom travelled horses for trainer Stuart Williams. He was honoured with a Lifetime in Racing race run in his name at Kempton.

He remained popular with the community when he would come home to Thomastown on his holidays.

The son of the late Thomas and Norah Townsend, Tom is survived by his daughters Claire and Sarah, his sister Susan Flynn (London), and his brothers Billy and Albert Townsend (Thomastown), who are involved in the sport of horse racing also.