UTTOXETER Racecourse has paid tribute to 'one of racing's real characters' after his body was pulled out of a river.
Charlie Moore, senior clerk at the Wood Lane racecourse, paid tribute to Owen Brennan, who he has known as a trainer for more than 20 years.
Mr Owen, who suffered a stroke which left him prone to memory loss, disappeared after leaving his Derby home to go for a walk on December 17 and his body was found last week after it was pulled from the River Derwent, in Darley Park, Derby.
Mr Moore said: "All those at Uttoxeter Racecourse were saddened by the news that Owen Brennan's body had been found but appreciated it gave the family closure after an agonising wait over the festive period and a chance to move on with him being received into St Mary's Catholic Church in Bridgegate on Sunday at 7.30pm and his requiem mass on Monday at 11am.
Speaking of the 77-year-old, he said: "One of racing's real characters Owen will be much missed by everyone and not just for his sense of humour but for all his knowledge and experience of horses and racing which he was always willing to share with others.
"It is ironic that his life has ended as he was one of life's survivors which he demonstrated by making a successful return to training ranks in his 77th year and doing so with such enthusiasm."
Before he was a jockey, Mr Owen, who training career spanned 40 years, was a jockey whose first winner in England was at Uttoxeter and his last ride as a professional jockey was also in the town.
He trained mainly in Nottinghamshire and one of his big wins was at Doncaster when Vulrory's Clown won the valuable Mansion House Chase.
Racing was a family affair for the Brennan family with his daughters and son riding the horses.
His ex-jockey son Martin, who is flight transport manager for the Dubai Racing Club, said: "It is just quite nice that the uncertainty is over now and we know where he is and we can move on and get things planned.
"I would like to say thank you for all the support we have had from people, many we haven't spoke to for years.
"It's been tremendous."
Uttoxeter Racecourse will be represented by Mr Moore at the funeral where the Brennan Family are reserving several rows within the church for those from within racing who should be well represented as there is only one jump race meeting planned that day across the country.