A jockey has paid an emotional tribute to Trevor Hemmings after riding a winner in the late billionaire's famous silks.

Richie McLernon's success on Iron Bridge at Ffos Las on Thursday was the first since Hemmings' death earlier this month at the age of 86.

The owner of Preston North End and three Grand National winners was one of jump racing's biggest supporters – and after crossing the line on the 9-2 shot, McLernon told how he had put the wheels in motion for his career.

"He was looking down on me today," he said in an interview with Sky Sports Racing.

"Mr Hemmings got me started in Ireland point-to-pointing with Eugene O'Sullivan on a horse called Arctic Times and he was the first horse that really got me noticed.

Richie McLernon won on Iron Bridge at Ffos Las (

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"So it was poignant winner riding in these colours, I was delighted."

Iron Bridge, two-and-a-half lengths clear at the post, took up the running at the penultimate obstacle of the Call Star Sports On 08000 521 321 Maiden Hurdle.

Despite showing signs of inexperience, the Jonjo O'Neill-trained five-year-old ran on well to score.

"He's a proper National Hunt horse," added McLernon.

Trevor Hemmings was a huge supporter of National Hunt racing (

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"Trevor has been very good to me since I have come to England as well.

"It's just very sad that he passed away but his memory will live on forever and he has been very good to the people around him. I'm just very lucky to ride a winner in these colours."

Hemmings, who celebrated victory in the Grand National with Hedgehunter, Ballabriggs and Many Clouds, secretly gave millions away to charity.

Richie McLernon races clear on Iron Bridge (

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He also gifted one of his horses Cloudy Dream to its former groom, after she wrote a letter telling him how much the ex-racer meant to her.

Remarkably in November 2020, the businessman, who had an estimated fortune of £1.025 billion in the 2020 Sunday Times Rich List, phoned to give her the news she hoped for.

in 2010, Hemmings bought the financially-troubled Preston North End Football Club.

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