The racing community has paid tribute to trainer Rick Worthington, who has passed away aged 60 after losing his lengthy battle with cancer on Saturday morning.
The veteran trainer was born in Bowral, Worthington joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1976 before taking an interest in horse racing.
Worthington trained several classy gallopers throughout his lengthy career, most notably two-time Group Two winner Whitefriars. He recorded 169 career wins, registering almost $4 million in prize money.
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Hours after his death, trainer Chris Waller dedicated Mister Sea Wolf’s Chelmsford Stakes victory to his mate in an emotional tribute.
“All the trainers found out about half an hour ago, and there was just an eerie silence,” Waller said.
“To lose a man like Rick, it’s very sad. Too young.
“He was the first one to help anyone out for someone who is doing it tough, and he’s done it tougher than anyone over the last few years and he’d be the last one to show it.
“He was a tough man and that’s how he will be remembered by all of us and so many people outside of racing as well.
“A fantastic horseman and just a dedicated man to horses all his life.”
Australian jockey Nash Rawiller said: “Rick’s been a trainer that I would say everyone in the room has had success for. And if they haven’t ridden winners for him, they have had the pleasure of knowing him.
“We’ve all known he has had a tough battle the last few years, but he is a fella that always had a smile on his face and something good to say.”
Australian Turf Club chief executive Jamie Barkley also extended his thoughts to Worthington’s family and colleagues.
“Rick was not only very well respected but was a very popular person amongst his peers and the wider racing industry,” Barkley said in a statement.
“The Australian Turf Club extends its sympathies to Mr Worthington’s family and colleagues at this sad time.”