Legendary bookmaker David Power passed away on Monday

Eddie Lynam has hailed David Power as a "pure gentleman" and "king of the ring" following the death of the legendary bookmaker at the age of 77 on Monday. 

The co-founder of betting behemoth Paddy Power, David began working in the betting industry in 1970 when he joined Richard Power after qualifying as a chartered accountant.

In 1988, he made a deal with Stewart Kenny and John Corcoran to merge those shops with their businesses and that was the beginning of Paddy Power, which joined forces with Betfair in 2016 to form one of the biggest betting companies in the world.

Power and his family had huge success with racehorses on the track too, with Sole Power establishing himself as one of the best sprinters of the modern era and Slade Power winning the Diamond Jubilee Stakes and July Cup in 2014, both in the colours of David's wife, Sabena. 

Lynam was the trainer of both and said Power was a pleasure to deal with over the years and a dear friend he will miss greatly. 

He said: "David was a pure gentleman, and the lads who would know said he was king of the ring. He was always pleasant and you would never know whether he won or lost; his demeanour would never change. 

"He was a pleasure to train horses for and he was actually very instrumental in the success of the horses he had, like Sole and Slade Power. He was never afraid to lose, was always very loyal and would back you in every decision you made. He was a great judge of form, too."

When asked how he started to train horses for the Power family, Lynam said: "His son Willie asked me to buy a horse for his mother for Christmas one year and that's how the whole thing started. I said it was a very expensive Christmas present! We had some great times over the years, though. 

"David was such a lovely man and a family friend. We would speak to each other two or three times a week and I've been to see him a good few times lately.

"I knew this day was coming as he hadn't been well, but it's still a big shock. They are such a lovely family, each one of them. Sabena is a queen."

Power remained a holder of prime betting pitches at all the major tracks in Ireland, as well as a few of the top tracks in Britain, until 2018, but he retired from the ring on Gold Cup day at Cheltenham.