Richard Barber is Mourned by Racing Community
Richard Barber was a hugely popular trainer, and when he passed away at the age of 77, it was a tragic loss to the sport. So it was no surprise at all that huge numbers of people gathered together to pay their respects to such a gentleman of the sport as freetips.com reports today.
Barber had picked Seaborough as the location that he wanted to be remembered at, and in the peaceful church there. The venue holds a modest seventy people only, and Barber believed that this would be more than adequate when the time came to remember him. But such was his popularity that the numbers far exceeded the capacity at this place. Hundred more mourners were, fortunately, able to attend the event using a televisual link at a marquee erected in the grounds of nearby Seaborough Manor. This significantly increased the number that was able to say goodbye, but even this wasn’t sufficient as that venue overflowed with people, so much so that every inch of the church and marquee was packed with fans of the popular legend wanting to say goodbye to him. A fact that I am sure would have touched his heart.
Barber’s career has spanned many decades of racing and included training three Cheltenham Festival winners. His first was Rushing Wild who was the winner of the Gold Cup. This was followed in 1995 by Fantus, who also won the title in 1997, making them a double Gold Cup winner. Finally, in 1998, Earthmover managed to live up to his name to give him his third winning with a fantastic performance. Other legends of the sport were in attendance at the services and at the wake afterwards, which included Martin Pipe who spoke fondly of his friend “I actually trained seven winners for Richard, and he sent me Rushing Wild after he won the Foxhunter. He was actually the closest I ever got to winning a Cheltenham Gold Cup when he was second to Jodami in 1993. He was a super gentleman, a great friend and a remarkable trainer.”
The tributes to Barber poured in thick and fast and made it easy to see just how popular and well liked he was. Nicholls Fry was another name that had fond memories of him “I have said it many times before, but I wouldn’t be where I’m today were it not for Richard as he introduced me to his brother Paul all those years ago, and we have been on the best of terms ever since. He had a wonderful eye for a horse as he spotted Gold Cup winner See More Business and Champion Hurdler Rock On Ruby. There are not that many people out there who could boast that.”
His grandson Jack, who is following in his grandfather’s footsteps as a trainer, read a touching poem for him, called ‘On A Friend’ during the service. One of his best friends, Tim Frost, also spoke, about how he wouldn’t suffer fools gladly with comments like “You have the brain of a woodlouse” being one of Barber’s favourites.