“It is heartbreaking for us all but particularly for Noel’s family. Noel fought a long and brave battle with the strength, courage and good humour that he brought to everything he did. He was a special person, kind and generous. He was never in bad form and always looked on the bright side.

“At work, he was the ultimate professional and took great pride in his work as senior National Hunt handicapper. He contributed so much to the sport of National Hunt racing.