THE death took place on Sunday of Balbriggan owner, breeder and enthusiastic racing fan Maurice McAuley.

Over the years, the north Co Dublin potato producer had horses with Liam Browne, John Hayden, John Murphy, Tracey Collins and Kevin Prendergast.

The last-named trained the Catrail filly Cat Belling to carry McAuley’s colours to victory in a 2002 Curragh maiden and in the Group 3 Derrinstown Stud 1000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown the following year. Having also finished fourth at listed and Group 3 level, Cat Belling was sold at the end of that season, going on to race, and win, in the United Arab Emirates.

Other winners saddled by Prendergast for the owner included Okey Dorey, a 1998 mare by Lake Coniston out of whom McAuley bred the six-time winner King Of Swords (by Desert Prince), and House Rebel, a 2005 daughter of Spartacus.

A genial and generous individual, Maurice attended racemeetings every weekend and each year went on holiday with a similarly minded group of fans to the Cheltenham and Aintree Festivals.

Speaking on behalf of her mother Josephine and her brothers and sisters, McAuley’s daughter Louise Baker said: “Dad loved having horses running but, even when he didn’t, he loved going racing with his friends. He was always delighted when jockeys such as Chris Hayes and Declan McDonogh would salute him when going around the parade ring. It’s such a pity that, because of Covid-19 restrictions, we cannot give him the send-off he would have liked.”