Dai Burchell, a revered former trainer and one of the most colourful characters in Welsh horse racing, has died at the age of 87.

Burchell, who hailed from Ebbw Vale, achieved remarkable success in his career, overseeing the training of over 400 winners from his small stables on a windswept hillside above the Gwent town.

Before dedicating himself to training horses, he had worked in the steelworks of Ebbw Vale. His journey in the racing world began in the 1950s as a jockey before transitioning into the role of a trainer.

In January 2022, on the eve of his retirement, Burchell celebrated his final triumph as Good Impression clinched victory at Uttoxeter, marking a poignant conclusion to his illustrious career at the age of 85.

Chepstow Racecourse, where Burchell had a career-long association, paid tribute on social media, writing: "We are saddened to hear of the passing of former trainer Dai Burchell - a great character in Welsh racing. RIP."

Ffos Las Racecourse posted: "So many wonderful tributes today to retired Welsh trainer Dai Burchell who has passed away. The thoughts of the team @FfosLasRC are with Ruth and the family."

Burchell gave a leg up to a host of leading jockeys, by providing rides early in their careers.

Among them was top Irish flat racing jockey Oisin Murphy, a three-time Champion Jockey, who posted: “Dai gave me my first ever ride. He was a true gentleman. May he rest in peace.”

Current top Welsh trainer Evan Williams was among those to pay tribute to Burchell, whose son, also named Dai, worked for the trainer.

Williams said: “He had been poorly in hospital for some time and I understand he passed away in the early hours of Sunday morning. He was somebody who all of us in Wales have known and respected for a long time.

“He forged a living out of a hillside where many of us would have struggled to do anything, let alone what he achieved. He was a tough and uncompromising character but we all had great respect for him and what he was able to do.”

Phil Bell, regional director of Arena Racing - owners of Chepstow and Ffos Las racecourses - also paid tribute to Burchell's legacy.

"Dai Burchell was sending out winners way before the current golden era of trainers in Welsh horse racing and, as a result, was highly respected by his peers," said Bell.

"The horses he trained were generally modest in terms of the purchase price and in that respect he certainly punched above his weight.

"He was extremely popular on the Welsh racing circuit and further afield and we were delighted to present him with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2018 ROA Welsh Horse Racing Awards. Our thoughts are with his wife Ruth and the family."

Burchell is survived by his wife Ruth and five children.