Tributes to racehorse owner who died from suspected coronavirus

Fond tributes have been paid to a devoted racehorse owner and friend to many in the racing industry.

Paul Townend, who had horses with several trainers and the syndicate Surrey Racing, died on Sunday after battling coronavirus.

Joe Tuite and Martin Keighley took to social media to share their memories of the horse racing fan, who was said to have especially enjoyed Royal Ascot.

He was the part-owner of horses at Tuite’s Lambourn stables, including Surrey Thunder, winner of the 2019 Grand Prix de Clairefontaine.

The four-year-old was purchased for 280,000gns last October and sent to Winx’s former trainer Chris Waller in Australia, who he made his debut for at Rosehill on Saturday.

“It is with great sadness to write this note,” Tuite said on Facebook.

“Paul Townend passed away in hospital yesterday morning from this horrible virus, Covid-19. My heart goes out to Geraldine and her family.

“For those of you who knew Paul will remember his passion for racing, Royal Ascot week being his favourite.

“Paul had become a good friend to my family and all my team, with their regular visits to the yard, he always made time for everybody he met.

“They had a huge amount of pleasure and success last season following their horse Surrey Thunder around the UK and Europe, and were looking forward to this season with their horses Surrey Pride and Surrey Flame.

“I know you will all join with myself, my family and my team in sending our love and thoughts to Geraldine and her family.”

Gloucestershire-based Martin Keighley shared a picture of him and his wife Belinda with Mr and Mrs Townend at Ascot.

One of the horses the couple had a share in was three-time winner Forecast.

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