Bede Murray is being remembered as superior horseman and a man of the people.
The popular NSW South Coast trainer died overnight on Tuesday at the age of 80 after a year-long battle with cancer.
The trainer of multiple Group One winners including age group champions Victory Vein and Universal Prince, Murray also remained true to his country roots, racing horses at most of the country carnivals.
Two races in NSW this week have been renamed in his honour.
The first is the Friday’s Provincial Championship Qualifier at his home track, Kembla Grange.
Murray won the inaugural $400,000 Provincial Championship last year with Sure And Fast and his three runners in Friday’s Kembla Grange heat will start in his name.
Saturday’s Magic Night Stakes at Rosehill, the last chance for fillies to get automatic entry to the Golden Slipper, will also bear his name.
The Murray-trained Victory Vein won the 2002 Magic Night and then ran second to Calaway Gal in the Golden Slipper before winning the Sires’ Produce and Champagne Stakes.
His long-time friend and fellow trainer, Barbara Joseph, paid tribute to Murray via Facebook.
“Bede Murray has been a wonderful friend and mentor to me for more than 40 years,” Joseph said.
“When I was first granted my trainer’s licence as a young woman, he sold horses to me and was constantly encouraging.
“We spent thousands of days together at racetracks across NSW and the ACT.
“During that time, I came to know a kind and witty man who was as much a great gentleman as he was a gifted horseman.
“News of his passing has filled me with great sadness, but also relief that his suffering had ended. He put up an incredibly brave battle against cancer.”
Retired jockey Rodney Quinn had a long association with Murray.
“I rode a lot of winners for Bede,” Quinn said. “He was good to ride for – you knew you’d always ride winners.
“There was never a time when he wouldn’t pop up with a good horse.”
Tim Clark, now a multiple Group One winning jockey with international experience, remembered Murray fondly.
“As I was making the transition from a country apprentice, Bede gave me a lot of support with rides at Kembla Grange on Saturdays,” he said.
“He was an influential part of my career and he will be sadly missed.”
Murray is survived his wife Edie and their three children Brenda, sons and fellow trainers Paul and Graeme and eight grandchildren and two great grandchildren.