NEIL WATSON: FOND MEMORIES OF JAMIE KYNE

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Royal Ascot kicks off next week

As the flat season gears up for its ultimate shop window next week with Royal Ascot getting all thirty races live on ITV. writes @Wattyracing

Hundreds of the best horses in the UK, Ireland, Europe and abroad from sprinter to stayer getting trained to perfection for what is arguably the best five day race meeting of the summer you can be forgiven for thinking that this is the only meeting on.

So far this year we have looked at the Number 9 years of Aintree and Epsom and looked back at some of the races, the horses and the jockeys that captured our hearts on the years 1989,1999 and 2009 respectively.

Going through the results from ten years reminded me of another course i was at during the Royal Ascot meeting and it made me both happy and also sad in equal measures.

Ten years ago myself and my dad ventured off for a racing trip to the west coast of Scotland for some racing at much cheaper prices as opposed to the famous Berkshire course, we went to Ayr for a two day meeting that was a Friday evening and a Saturday afternoon affair, the racing wasn’t the classiest far from it but it was nice to see the more lower end of the racing scale.

That evening we had Graham Goode on commentary and even Nick Luck who was on C4 hosting duties the day after strolled in midway through for some races, no doubt before a nice early night to be all bright eyed and bushy tailed for The Morning Line.

As the racing went on, one young jockey whose name had been mentioned as being the next big thing rode a double on the evening, something i do know as i backed them both.

His name was Jamie Kyne, a young lad only 18 from Galway and at the time was an apprentice with John Quinn, very highly regarded as a jockey and was up in the vanguard for the champion title of the younger jockeys for the 2009 season.

Jamie Kyne was killed in a fire

He rode two winners that evening on Tom Tower and Chookie Hamilton and watching them go in you could understand why he was getting high praise for his riding.

Sadly though this was one racing fairytale which had the cruellest of all endings to it, come Saturday 5th September when the days big race was the Group One Haydock Park Sprint Cup, news came through first up on the Morning Line about an arson attack in a flat in Malton, that flat had inside at the time both Jamie Kyne and fellow apprentice jockey Jan Wilson, then during the morning the news everyone had been dreading sadly came true, both of them had lost their lives.

Jamie was meant to have been riding at Haydock Park that day, sadly on an afternoon where many felt too upset about the evil and heinous act that had taken two young lives away, rather than see a potential champion jockey in action with his whole career ahead of him, we were instead stood around the parade ring in silence paying our respects to two people denied a life in a way that is too awful to think about.

After racing that Friday evening at Ayr my father and I retreat back to the bar of The Station Hotel and after a few pints I needed to go and pay the water bill, in the gents I briefly spoke to Tom O’Ryan, an equally much loved and much missed writer and broadcaster of the northern racing scene, Tom spoke highly about Jamie’s ability and at his funeral mass when speaking about Jamie he referred to him as “the son I never had”

Around 350 people turned up for a that funeral mass at St Leonard & St Mary’s Church in Malton before Jamie’s body was taken back to Galway for a private burial, Jan Wilson had her funeral a few days later at Lowson Memorial Parish Church in Forfar.

Who knows how far the pair of them would have gone in the saddle, to have been at Ayr that Friday evening and see Jamie ride in person is something I shall never forget.