Tributes have been paid to former National Hunt jockey James Banks, who died on Monday at the age of 36.
Banks was a popular member of the weighing room, who rode 85 winners in a career which began on the Flat before he moved into jumping. His best season came in 2015-16, with 24 winners.
Following his retirement from the saddle in 2018, he went on to work for trainer Emma-Jane Bishop.
Champion jockey Richard Johnson wrote on Twitter: “Such sad news that James Banks has gone – one man that always put a smile on people’s faces. Thoughts are with his family RIP.”
Trainer Noel Williams said: “You had a smile and a cheeky laugh that could light up any room. The demons eventually got the better of you, but you’ll be remembered by your bright light that resonated from you to so many of us. You’re at peace now my friend. RIP James Banks.”
Banks used to ride for former trainer Brendan Powell, who said: “Devastating to hear that James Banks ( Banksy) has passed away. Only a young man with so much to offer. Lovely rider and always had a joke to tell whilst riding out. RIP James.”
Jockey Barry Geraghty tweeted: “It is very sad news to hear of James Banks passing – he was a very good Jockey a great friend to all and one of the most entertaining in the weighroom, he will be sadly missed My condolences to his Family RIP.”
A joint-statement from the Professional Jockeys’ Association and the Injured Jockeys’ Fund read: “James was an immensely popular member of the weighing room and remained so since his retirement from the saddle in February 2018, as has been so clearly demonstrated by the tributes from his friends and colleagues.
“He worked extremely hard and was passionate about and dedicated to his craft. It was testament to this dedication that, having switched to the professional ranks relatively late in his career, he was one of the very
few ‘claiming professionals’ who was able to ride out his claim.
“He had an infectious personality with a sharp sense of humour, and that is the James we will all remember.
“Underneath this outgoing exterior, James had issues that he bravely tried to address. He had the support of a loving family and was aware of and had engaged with the extensive support available to current and former
“We are all deeply upset by the news of his death, and he will be greatly missed by a significant number of people whose lives he touched. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends, and the IJF and PJA will offer them every support. We also ask that their privacy is respected at this incredibly difficult time.”