A MALTON-based jockey who rode more than 600 winners has died at the age of 98.

Harry John Greenaway, know as Jonny, was born in the east end of London.

With no background in horseracing, it was a chance conversation that encouraged him to move north to pursue a career that was to last more than 30 years.

His son Peter said: “Dad was working as a stage hand at a theatre when he was stood at a bus stop talking to a chap who said that with his build - he was 5ft 6 and weighed just six stone at the age of 21 - he should be a jockey and gave him some contacts.”

Jonny moved to Malton and rode his first winner at Newcastle in 1949.

During his career he rode for nearly every trainer in the north, including Captain Charles Else, Rufus Beasley and Jack Calvert at Hambleton.

Among the notable races Jonny won were the Manchester November Handicap and Gosforth Park Cup. He also finished third in the St Leger in 1968 on Cold Storage.

One of his favourite horses was Tanavar, which he rode for Captain Elsey.

Peter said his dad had retired from racing at the age of 53 after suffering chest injuries in a car crash, although his love of racing continued.

“He was still going to the races in his 90s and loved to talk about racing,” he said.

“Dad was always interested in old cars and would tell stories of how he and other jockeys would jump in one of his cars to travel round the country to different racecourses.”

After retirement, Jonny and his wife Connie, ran the Milton Cafe in Malton Market Place, as well as owning a number of properties in the town.

They later lived in Guernsey where they had shares in an hotel, before returning to Ryedale.

Peter said: “Dad would also go to India in the winter to ride for the royal family and take mum with him, they had a good life.

“I remember being taken round the country to watch him racing as a child.

“We also met a number of celebrities who dad was friends with including the footballer Jack Charlton, Tony Booth, Des O’Connor and actor Bill Maynard.

Jonny, who suffered from dementia, was being cared for in a residential home in Thornton-le-Dale when he died on July 1.

He is survived by his widow Connie, children Peter and Rosemarie, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

A funeral service and interment for immediate family will be held at Mowthorpe Garden of Rest, Terrington, tomorrow (Thursday) at 11.30am.

Donations in memory of Jonny may be given for the Injured Jockey’s Fund and Great Ormond Street Hospital and may be sent to Adam Collier Funeral Service in Helmsley, phone 01439 772340.