Gay Kindersley, one of racing’s most colourful characters, has died aged 80.

By the time he went up to Oxford in the late 1940s, Gay was regularly riding as an amateur in National Hunt races and, after two terms of studying, left university to focus on riding full-time.

After the war and a stint overseas, Gay returned to England to concentrate on his racing career.

In the 1959-60 season, he was crowned champion jockey and in 1965 he retired from jumps racing to concentrate on training, although he continued to ride on the Flat until 1969.

He co-owned Ayala, narrowly defeated in the 1963 Grand National, and named the horses he bred after Dickens characters.

Gay retired from training in 1985 and devoted himself to charitable causes in retirement —including the Spinal Injuries Association.

He was also chairman of the Amateur Jockeys’ Association of Great Britain.

This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound (12 May, 2011)