Tribute to 'grand lady' of local horse racing, Peggy Hagan

Peggy Hagan.  INCT 45-746-CON
Peggy Hagan. INCT 45-746-CON

Tributes have been paid to the ‘grand old lady’ of local horse racing Margaret ‘Peggy’ Hagan, who passed away on November 1.

An ardent supporter of jump racing for decades, she enjoyed tremendous success in the past couple years with Chosen Dream and Balnaslow.

Age and ailments were no barrier to Peggy - late of Templepatrick Road, Ballyclare - who supported her runners travelling to Aintree, Cheltenham and Stratford only last season. The always elegantly attired 89-year-old had even planned a major 90th birthday party for the 15th of this month.

While frequent race-winner Jim’s Choice was possibly her favourite horse, having been bought by her husband Jim just prior to his passing, Balnaslow supplied several highlights last season.

These included winning the Punchestown Champion Hunterchase and runner up in the Aintree Foxhunters, also filling the same position in the Stratford Champion Hunterchase following finishing a very close fifth in the Cheltenham Festival Foxhunters.

He was partnered in all his races by multiple Champion rider, Derek O’Connor.

Chosen Dream won a total of nine point to points and a hunterchase with both horses trained for Peggy by Graham McKeever.

Remembering the ‘grand old lady’ of local racing was Ron McKnight of Hagan Homes and Hagan Caravans & Parks: “Peggy was an inspiration and proudly boasted her age and passion for her horses when interviewed on television at Stratford. Gawn Home was another horse she owned, with the prefix being her maiden name.

“She will be very sadly missed on the racing circuit and by her very many friends. Sincere condolences are offered to the family circle.”

A service of celebration for Peggy’s life was held in Second Ballyeaston Presbyterian Church on Saturday, November 4, followed by interment in Ballyclare Cemetery.

Mourners were urged to wear bright colours at the request of Peggy, who was a frequent winner in the fashion stakes at local point to points.

A funeral notice for Peggy reads: “Beloved wife of the late Jim, much loved mummy of James and partner Anne, Sam and wife Deborah, Margaret and husband Nigel, loving sister of Anne and a devoted grandmother and great-grandmother.”