A true winner passes the post: vale Kevin Nipperess
HIS dream was always horse training and he was great at it.
"His horses were always well looked after, with not a hair out of place at the track," said trainer Leo Clapham, of Casino, about his mate Kevin Nipperess, who died this week at the age of 77.
"Nothing was too much trouble for him; he'd go out of his way to help everyone."
When they farewell Ballina trainer Mr Nipperess on Monday, many more of the racing fraternity will rem-ember a good bloke whose passion was the track.
The best horse he trained was prolific Northern Rivers Cup winner Eshowee, while Rousillon and Silver Magnum were other favourites.
His biggest thrill in the racing game was his dual Ballina and Lismore cup victories in 1987, ridden by pioneering woman rider Iris Nielsen.
Born on November 19, 1937, Mr Nipperess was the eldest of four children born to William and Elsie Nipperess.
His first job was with his father in the local bakery at Billinudgel but he went on to become a butcher before getting into horse training.
"When Dad was a kid, his parents worked on a farm in Lismore owned by trainer Joe Mazzer," said Mr Nipperess' son Paul.
"Dad used to ride track work for him and, in 1956,he took out a strapper's licence."
Mr Nipperess married the love of his life, Patricia Flynn, in 1959 and the couple had four children - Jan, Catherine, Leigh and Paul.
It was in 1960, when he had a butchery at Wyrallah, that he bought his first two horses, Dainty Lorraine and Gleam's Brother.
Later he worked at Woolworths in the River Street butchery and, in his lunch hour, he would go to the track where everything would be set up for him to swim the horses.
At this time he made the decision to follow his dream to be a trainer.
In the 1970s, he began a special partnership with the late Iris Nielsen.
"There was no one quite like Iris and when she was killed in a race fall in 1988, the year after winning cups with Dad's horse Silver Magnum, he decided to pack up and move to Queensland," said his daughter Mrs Jan Robinson. "His real heart though was in Ballina and he later returned."
Mrs Robinson remembers that her dad was always whistling. His favourite was Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree, that will be played at his funeral.
Pat Nipperess said that before she met her husband, she had never been to a race meeting.
"I learnt to love it, though," she said.
She said her husband's other passion was NRL club the Canberra Raiders.
While he was sick in recent weeks, head coach Ricky Stuart sent him aget well email.
His funeral service will be held at 10.30am at St Francis Xavier's Church in Ballina and a reception at the Ballina RSL Club.