On the day of the Aintree national his native Dunshaughlin and his adopted town of Ashbourne are in shock following the sudden death this morning of Irish Grand National-winning jockey, Ger Dowd. He was aged 65.

Dowd won the 1978 Fairyhouse renewal on Jim Dreaper’s Brown Lad, making it a hat trick for the horse which had won under Tommy Carberry in 1975 and ’76.

For over a decade Ger was associated with the legendary Dreaper stables at Kilsallaghan outside Ashbourne.

He also played football with Dunshaughlin, and was a member of the club’s intermediate team that won the 1977 championship. Dowd also played minor and under-21 football with Meath.