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Racing mourns the loss of 'gentleman' Dessie Hughes

Tributes were pouring in for trainer Dessie Hughes who died yesterday at the age of 71 following a battle with illness.

A Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup winner as a jockey, Hughes (pictured) joined an elite group to have both ridden and trained Champion Hurdle winners when Hardy Eustace triumphed in 2004.

Hardy Eustace's dual Champion Hurdle winning jockey Conor O'Dwyer said: "There's gentlemen and then there was Dessie Hughes."

Ruby Walsh described him as "an absolute gentleman", while champion trainer Willie Mullins described Hughes as "the professionals' professional".

The Curragh-based trainer is survived by his wife Eileen, son and three-time champion jockey Richard and daughter Sandra.