Michael Byrne: Grand National jockey dies aged 36 as tributes pour in for 'honest and loyal' sports star

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Tributes from the horse racing world have poured in for Michael Byrne, who ran in the 2014 Grand National on Golan Way

Grand National jockey Michael Byrne has died at the age of 36.

The Irish rider was known to fans of the sport after competing in the Grand National in 2014 on the horse Golan Way, as well as taking part in several Cheltenham races throughout his career. He recorded 61 winners on Tim Vaughan-trained horses with 96 winners overall, however lost out on the Grand National win to Pineau De Re.

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Vaughan paid tribute to Byrne, saying in a statement: "It is just so sad and I am devastated for Michael's family and friends. He was a lovely person – reliable, honest and loyal. He started his career in Peter Bowen's stable and worked for us for about five years. Dicky (Richard) Johnson was our main jockey at the time and Michael was conditional, he rode out his claim here. We enjoyed lots of success together and got on famously well."

Pat Doyle, Byrne’s uncle and a respected horse trainer, added: "Michael was very successful as a jockey and was a brilliant horseman and it's very, very sad. He was a great guy who was involved in horses and into his football. He had three brothers and two sisters and all the family are very close. He was a wonderful young man with a wonderful family around him and he'll be very sadly missed."

Racehorse syndicate Diamond Racing also paid tribute to the rider, saying in a post of X (formerly Twitter): “Absolutely devastating to hear of the sad loss of former jockey, Michael Byrne. Condolences to his family and friends. RIP Michael.”

Byrne retired from the sport in 2016. He returned to his native Ireland, where he was still involved in the industry by preparing horses for the sales.

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