Tributes have been paid to former jockey Tyrone Williams who died yesterday aged 54.
Williams won more than 800 races in his career, including the 1984 Royal Hunt Cup at Ascot and the 1997 York Ebor.
He passed away peacefully at Great Western Hospital in Swindon on Tuesday morning.
In 2016, Williams suffered a stroke, which left him with permanent double vision, memory loss and paralysis on one side of his body.
He spent six months in hospital, before he was allowed to go home with professional care.
Assisted by the Injured Jockeys’ Fund, at their Oaksey House facility in Lambourn, Williams continued his progress with extensive rehabilitation.
Paying tribute, his daughter Kayleigh said: “He was a talented horseman who was a very respected jockey in his day.
“He had his struggles after his stroke a few years ago, but he rose to every challenge he faced and achieved much more than he ever expected.
“I’m so proud of everything he accomplished.
“I love him dearly and I will miss him forever.”
In 2018, Williams joined Lambourn Riding for the Disabled Association, where he rediscovered his passion for horses and put in hours of work to ride again.
Williams, who won in his very first race at Epsom as a teenager in 1983, successfully competed in the RDA South Region Qualifiers in dressage.
He told his inspirational story as part of the RDA’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 2019.
Frances Lochrane, chair of the Lambourn branch, said: “Tyrone was amazing. He always thought he would never be able to get back on a horse when he had the stroke.
“He learned to ride with one hand. He was very ambitious and was determined to do as much as he could.
“He was engaging and had a really good sense of humour. He had a special bond with a horse we had called Ant, he would listen out for him arriving at the stables.
“Tyrone was loved by us all here. We will really miss him.”
When winning the 1997 Ebor on 33-1 shot Far Ahead, Williams pipped the favourite Media Star, the mount of Frankie Dettori.
He celebrated wins in other top races including the Newmarket Bunbury Cup, the Northumberland Plate at Newcastle, the Doncaster Lincoln and the track’s Spring Mile, when Melodian charged home by ten lengths in 2001.
He was trained by the late Mel Brittain and his son Antony said: “So sad to hear the news about the passing of Tyrone Williams. Rode lots of winners for my dad and a really lovely man. RIP Tyrone.”
Sharing a link to a clip of Williams’ Royal Ascot success in the eighties, trainer Ben Haslam said: “The first time I’ve ever seen this footage having looked it up hearing the sad news that Tyrone Williams has passed away.
“He rode the winner of the 1984 Royal Hunt Cup @AscotRacecourse on Hawkley for my late father and late owner Alistair Dinsmore.”
Jockey Paul Mulrennan wrote: “Sad news hearing the passing of Tyrone Williams I’ve fond memories of Tyrone from when I started at Pat Haslam’s as an apprentice RIP Tyrone.”
Williams, who was the son of late Welsh boxer Lennie “The Lion” Williams, is survived by daughter Kayleigh, son Darragh, brother Jason, sister Debbie and mum Gloria.