Tribute to popular Donegal horse trainer

He trained numerous winners during a long association with the sport of horseracing, with Step Aside being, perhaps, his most special of all.

By Staff Reporter

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By Staff Reporter

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Tribute to popular Donegal horse trainer

The late Brian Ferry

The death last month of Brian Ferry, Lurgybrack, Letterkenny marked the passing of one of the most respected horse owners and trainers, not only in the North West, but throughout the country.

Brian, who was laid to rest on Tuesday, January 24th at New Leck Cemetery in Letterkenny, following a period of illness, was always a popular figure around the racetracks of Ireland. He still had a keen interest in the racing game and was attending flapping meetings a short time before his death.

He trained numerous winners during a long association with the sport of horseracing, with Step Aside being, perhaps, his most special of all.

Step Aside was synonmous with Brian and gave him countless happy days with wins all over Ireland.

Other successful horses trained by Brian included Be My Guest, True Grit, Dusty Bin and Rio Bravo.

Eugene Gillen from Pluck was Brian's regular jockey and the pair struck up a great friendship in the eighties and this bond proved a strong and lasting one. The pair's finest hour came in 2003 when Eugene guided the famous 14/2 pony, El Dorado, to victory in the Dingle Derby.

Other big-name jockeys to ride for Brian included Tony Dobbin and Jamie Spencer, who both progressed to have hugely successful careers. Tony Dobbin won the Aintree Grand National in 1997 on Lord Gyllne and notched up over 1,200 winners in his time in the saddle. Jamie Spencer was champion jockey in England and had some memorable days for Aidan O'Brien - the world's most successful trainer.

The Kelly sisters from Downpatrick, Stacey and Sharon, were both champion jockeys when riding for Brian in the 1990s.

A devoted husband and a loving father and grandfather, Brian was a humble and generous individual, and his unassuming nature endeared him to all who knew him.

He operated a milk-run for many years before his sons, Kevin and James, took it over. Apart from his family, horses were his passion.

Brian is survived by his wife Helen (nee Doherty); sons Kevin, Brian, Hugh, Conor and James;

daughter Elizabeth; brothers Hugo, James, Eddie, Willy, Paddy, Cathal and Mickey; sisters Maureen Barry, Jackie Roubains, Olive McElhinney and Jo Jordan; son-in-law Aidan Kelly, daughter-in-law Sarah Ferry; grandchildren Lara, Meaghan, Brian, Ciarán, Clíodhna and Eórann, and a wide circle of family and friends.

Sympathy is extended to all on their sad loss.

A gentleman of flapping curcuit, Brian will be sorely missed.

C & C O'D.