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Newmarket's former racehorse trainer Mick Ryan dies at the age of 80

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Mick Ryan, trainer of more than 700 race winners including Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Katies, has died aged 80.

Mick was well known for his charismatic personality around Newmarket, where he lived and worked throughout his life, having first taken out a licence to train in 1976, before moving to Cadland Stables in 1978, which remains his family’s home.

His hundreds of race wins came both at home and abroad, but his finest moments were shared with filly Katies, who won the 1,000 Guineas in 1984 as a 20/1 outsider with Mick’s stable jockey Philip Robinson, before besting the favoured former 1,000 Guineas winner Pebbles to win a Coronation Stakes title at Royal Ascot.

Mick lived and worked around horses his entire life.
Mick lived and worked around horses his entire life.

“His death is very sad news,” said Mr Robinson.

“Without doubt, Mick was one of the greatest horsemen I ever knew. He didn’t just train horses, he got inside their heads and could read their minds.

“When I came out of my apprenticeship I joined him as first jockey and we had some great days together, as you can imagine, because Mick was a very funny character and was so easy to get along with.”

Mick Ryan working at his desk before his retirement.
Mick Ryan working at his desk before his retirement.

Mick retired in 2005, passing his business and Cadland stables on to his son, John Ryan.

“Horses have always been a part of our life from a young age, and everyone mucked in,” said John.

“Dad always told me to stick with my education and I even trained to be an accountant for a time, but horses were always in my blood and I was out on the heath riding from the age of 11 or 12.

“Dad was a natural around them and treated every horse as an individual – always taking care to learn their different personalities and he was renowned for his attention to detail.

“He was constantly thinking about their exercise plans, food, travel arrangements and all the small details others might overlook.

“Even after his retirement, dad was always around the stables and horses were remained a constant part of his life.

“The first thing he did every day was read the Racing Post cover to cover then go and tend to the horses.”

Mick died at West Suffolk Hospital on Thursday and leaves behind his son John, daughter Sarah, widow Anne and grandson Jack.

The funeral will take place at St Mary's Church in Newmarket on Wednesday February 23 at noon.

There will then be a burial at Newmarket cemetery followed by a reception at the Heath Court Hotel in the town, one of Ryan's favourite venues, from 1pm.

Any donations c/o Southgate Funeral Directors, Duchess Drive, Newmarket.