LOOKING BACK: Ballina racehorse trainer Kevin Nipperess, pictured here in January for a story in The Northern Star about Ballina’s former women-only Iris Nielsen Memorial race being opened to male jockeys for the first time. Iris Nielsen rode for him before being killed in a race fall.
LOOKING BACK: Ballina racehorse trainer Kevin Nipperess, pictured here in January for a story in The Northern Star about Ballina’s former women-only Iris Nielsen Memorial race being opened to male jockeys for the first time. Iris Nielsen rode for him before being killed in a race fall. Mireille Merlet

Tributes flow after Ballina trainer Kevin Nipperess dies

FRIENDS remember him as a down-to-earth bloke who was well liked and respected in the horse racing industry.

Ballina trainer Kevin Nipperess, who was born in Lismore and moved to Ballina in 1968, has died.

"I rode for Kevin from 2006 and he loved the horses and the training," jockey and friend Neil Paine said. "His judgement was very good."

Mr Paine rode Mr Nipperess' third Ballina Cup winner, All Our Way, in 2009. It was a $21 long-shot for the $50,000 prizemoney.

The Ballina trainer had last won the cup in 1987 with Silver Magnum, which was ridden by the late Iris Nielsen. His first cup victory was in 1978 with Eshowee.

"We celebrated long and hard at the Ballina Bowling Club with a few beers," Mr Paine said.

Mr Nipperess also won three Lismore Cups.

Ballina Jockey Club manager Matthew Bertram said Mr Nipperess had held an industry licence for more than 50 consecutive years.

"Kevin was also a butcher by trade and he balanced both his professions for a period until his love for the racehorse industry finally won out," Mr Bertram said.

"He had a great affinity with Sydney-based jockey Neil Paine, who would often fly up from Sydney to ride here at Ballina.

"But his most successful partnership was with local pioneering female jockey Iris Nielsen, who was tragically killed in a race fall in 1988, an incident that deeply shook Kevin.

"Rather fittingly one of Kevin's proudest moments was when he trained Gairloch to victory in a version of what is now the Iris Nielsen Mem-orial in March 2008."

Mr Bertram said the Nipperess family had sponsored part of the Iris Nielsen Memorial Race by sourcing and donating an inscribed rug to the winning horse of the race annually.

He added: "Kevin was also a strong advocate of female riders generally and he used female riders more often than not."

Racing writer Grahame Timbrell said Mr Nipperess was a dyed-in-the-wool Ballina man, who was forthright in his views and "a very good bloke".


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