|Wednesday 26th June 2019|
The Racing Community Bids Farewell to Richard Barber
It was a sad day when crowds gathered to pay their last respects to horse racing legend, but the vast numbers who turned out to say goodbye was definitely not a surprise, such was the popularity of the 77-year-old trainer as BlackBook.com.au reports.
A quiet church in the peaceful hamlet of Seaborough was the venue chosen by Barber before he passed away. Such was the modesty of the man he believed that his departure would be attended by a small gathering of family and friends. The capacity of the St 'John's is only 70, and there were literally hundreds more mourners who were able to be there via television link as they gathered in a marquee erected in the grounds of Seaborough Manor. It did not end there as this too filled to capacity, and even more, were gathered on a nearby lawn. The church was packed with every inch of standing room also taken as so many people wanted to so goodbye to this popular legend. What the great man would have made of this is unclear, but we are sure he would have been touched.
Richard was a trainer who had three Cheltenham Festival winners in a career that spanned many years. His first Gold Cup winner was Rushing Wild, then in 1995, Fantus claimed the title for the first time, taking it for the second time in 1997. In 1998 his victor was a horse named aptly named Earthmover who gave a cracking run. There were many big names at the funeral service and the wake afterwards, including Martin Pipe, who had this to say about his friend and colleague. "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."
There were so many tributes that day; it is easy to see just how well-liked and popular Barber was. Paul Nicholls, another big name in racing, spoke warmly 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."
During the service, his grandson Jack, who followed in his grandpa's footsteps and is building a name for himself as a trainer read a moving poem called On A Friend. Tim Frost, one of his best friends, also spoke, in his tribute remembering the temper Barber would sometimes show with comments like ''You have the brain of a woodlouse''. It is clear that family, friends and the sport have lost a star who will never be forgotten.