FORMER National Hunt jockey and Jockey’s Valet Richard Floyd has died suddenly at the age of just 61 after suffering from a heart attack. It was his third attack.

He was admitted to hospital after suffering with chest pains at his home in Bassett Down, near Wroughton.

Mr Floyd, who was well known as Dixie and whose twin brother Mark was also a jockey, rode around 50 jumps winners during the 1970s and 80s.

A professional tribute to Mr Floyd, which appeared in the Racing Post newspaper this month, said: “He was primarily associated with trainer Ian Dudgeon and is best remembered for riding Wovoka and Crown Matrimonial.

“After retiring from the saddle, Floyd became a valet and looked after John Reid, Willie Ryan and Paul Eddery among others.

“Steve Drowne, Rab Havlin and Fergus Sweeney were also on his books before he sold the business and went to work at Manton for John Gosden and later Brian Meehan. “ More recently, Mr Floyd had enjoyed some success as an owner-breeder.

Alex Jewell, the son of jockeys’ agent Guy Jewell, paid tribute to Mr Floyd, who was also his godfather.

He said: “Dixie was a family friend for over 30 years and will be sorely missed.

“I never heard a bad word said about him and he was one of those people who would always be happy to do anything to help you.”

Mr Floyd’s funeral will take place at Kingsdown Crematorium in Swindon tomorrow at 2.15pm, and the service will be followed by refreshments at the Crown Inn, Broad Hinton.

Family flowers only are requested at the funeral, but anyone who remembers Dixie can send donations towards Heart Research UK and the Injured Jockeys Fund, c/o G&L Evans Family Funeral Services, 10 St John Road, Wroughton, Swindon.