Monday, November 29, 2021
HomeHorse WeekAlex Murdoch

Alex Murdoch

A gentleman, sportsman and very good amateur rider of the Corinthian era, Alex Murdoch very sadly passed away on Saturday, aged 82. The Murdoch name is synonymous with Comber. The family have for decades grown vegetables and produced barley at the Castle Lane Farm, while also making ground available in years past for the very popular North Down point to point, traditionally on Aintree Grand National day.

He was always ultra fair in his dealings and, having bought the Unicarnval estate to extend his farming interests, immediately offered any farmers with adjoining land the opportunity to buy bits of ground at cost price if they wished to purchase. Fellow farmers could always rely on him if short of material, plants or machinery to help them out.

After a long day’s work, the horses came next and he continued to ride out after many had hung up their boots. The 60s were a golden time for Alex and his late wife Dorothy, who bred 2007 Galway Plate winner ‘Sir Frederick’, while ‘Castle King’, ‘Greek Lad’ and ‘Snow Marshall’ were all top horses in their respective fields. The last named won his maiden hunterchase just prior to ‘Laffy’ winning the Ulster Grand National in 1962, however, an enquiry from the Grand National winning owner, the late Queen Mother, if the horse was for sale found the answer was no. It was the correct call, with the chestnut gelding progressing to win the prestigious Sweet Afton Cup at Dundalk and Joseph O’Reilly Trophy at Fairyhouse.

In the 1980s, ‘Wolitico’ was a multiple point to point winner and ‘Highlight Lad’ a high class bumper horse partnered by Alex.

Both Alex and Dorothy were proud of the careers of their son, Andrew, who became a major figure in Formula 1 motor racing and daughter, Julia a physiotherapist, who followed in her parents’ footsteps and rode in point to points – with the highlight, to the joy of Alex and Dorothy, happening at Craigantlet when Julia on ‘Hillmount’ won, beating her father into second on ‘Ballyalla’!

Alex is survived by his sisters, Eleanor and Nan; son, Andrew and daughter, Julia. He will be greatly missed by his very many friends and condolences are offered to the family circle.

Funeral arrangements – family home strictly private and burial at Comber cemetery at 2pm on Thursday, with social distancing and face masks recommended.


Bree Rutledge

If you would like to find out more about Horse Week, Bree Rutledge can be contacted by email: or or by telephone: +44 (0) 28 9033 4493.




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