Tom O’Ryan: had been battling lung cancer
By Colin Russell 8:19PM 23 AUG 2016
TOM O’RYAN, the much respected, award-winning racing journalist and broadcaster, has died at the age of 61. He had been battling lung cancer.
O’Ryan, Racing Journalist of the Year in 2002, had also been a talented Flat jockey and one of the leading apprentices of his era. Starting his career as a 16-year-old weighing 6st 2lb, he partnered top-class performers Gunner B and Alverton on course and Sea
Pigeon, Night Nurse, Little Owl and Alverton in home work – a quartet who won four Champion Hurdles and two Cheltenham Gold Cups.
O’Ryan rode for Pat Rohan, Peter Easterby and as a freelance for 12 years before weight forced him to turn his hand to journalism. He soon made an impact, working as a racereader for Raceform and joining the Racing Post as northern correspondent as well as becoming a presenter and pundit for Racing UK.
Through all his writing, his knowledge and love of horses shone through and he continued to ride work for Malton trainer Richard Fahey as well as working as a jockey coach helping the careers of many aspiring riders.
Among the first to pay condolence was Fahey, who said: “Devastated to say Tom O’Ryan passed away today. Can’t say how much we will all miss him. We’ve lost the voice of the north.”
Bruce Millington, editor of the Racing Post, said: “Desperately sad about the death of Tom O’Ryan. A fine journalist, broadcaster, Racing Post legend and champion of racing in the north.”
Malton is also in mourning with news of the death of former jockey and trainer Herbert Jones, who has died aged 83.
O’Ryan leaves a wife Wendy and brother Robin, assistant to Fahey.
Tweets from the racing world
Jonjo O’Neill (@JonjoONeill)
I’m heartbroken and lost for words. Tom was a great friend with an incredible way with horses & words. A great man who will be sadly missed.
Adam McNamara (@AdamMcNamara953)
Can’t put into words how much I will miss Tom O’Ryan. He was a true gentleman, horseman, a great mentor, but most importantly a good friend.
Sean Quinn (@SeanQuinnracing)
RIP Tom O’Ryan. Racing, but the north in particular, has lost a real gem.
Mick Fitzgerald (@mickfitzg)
Really sorry to hear of the death of Tom O’Ryan. A gentleman who always had time to say hello. May he rest in peace.
Gay Kelleway (@GayKelleway)
So very very sad to hear of Tom O’Ryan’s passing away he was a true gent and a legend he will be missed sorely by all who new him.
Dom Elsworth (@giddyyupgg)
R.I.P Tom O’Ryan. Stalwart of racing in the north. Absolute gentleman. Only ever wanted 2 help young lads out, always so kind in words.
Oliver Sherwood (@OliverSherwood)
Really sad news that Tom O’Ryan has passed away – so young – thoughts with his family.
RIP Tom O Ryan, proper man and a writer full of integrity, racing is a poorer place tonight.
Aidan Coleman (@AidanColeman)
Very sad to hear the news Tom O’Ryan has passed away. He was always great to deal with & will be missed massively. Condolences to hes family.
Donald McCain (@donaldmccain)
So sad to hear Tom O’ryan has passed away. Always a pleasure to deal with and a real gentleman! #Rip
Tom Scudamore (@tommyscu)
Very saddened to hear of the passing of Tom O’Ryan. A gentleman and wise man of the press room. Always a pleasure to speak to. RIP
Richard Hoiles (@RichardHoiles)
So sorry to hear of Tom O’Ryan’s passing. Few people in racing will have helped so many with his time kind words and advice. A sad day.
Jason Hart (@jasonhart13)
Rest in peace Tom O’Ryan, a man who helped so many in so many different ways. A true gentleman and a pleasure to call him a friend #RIPTom
Willy Twiston-Davies (@willy_twiston)
Shocking news that Tom O’Ryan has passed away, puts life into perspective and makes us appreciate what we have. #RIPTom