Tributes have been paid to racehorse trainer Richard Woollacott, who has died aged 40.
The former champion point-to-point rider saddled Beer Goggles to win the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury last month.
Beer Goggles, star of Woollacott’s Devon-based string, is due to compete in the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham on Saturday.
Police say Woollacott’s death is not believed to be suspicious.
“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Richard this morning,” said his family in a statement.
“May we ask that you respect the family’s privacy at this most difficult time.”
As a successful point-to-point rider, Woollacott won the Devon & Cornwall championship on nine occasions and the national title in 2010.
A trainer since 2008, he saddled 60 winners including two at Grade 2 level, with Lalor winning Aintree’s Champion Bumper in April 2017.
“It’s a massive shock. I’ve been lucky to have a couple of nice winners for Richard but I’ve known him since his point-to-point days,” jockey Richard Johnson – who rode Lalor and Beer Goggles to their biggest wins – told the Racing Post.
Champion jockey AP McCoy said on Twitter: “Awful news to hear about the passing of Richard Woollacott. My deepest condolences and thoughts are with his family and friends at this terrible time.”