A decade ago John Messara commissioned a statue of his friend Percy Sykes to take pride of place at Arrowfield Stud, such was his regard for the veterinary pioneer.
Sykes died on Monday aged 93 with Racing NSW chairman Messara among those to pay tribute to the man who revolutionised the care and feeding of racehorses in Australia.
"No-one will ever know the greatness of the loss," Messara said.
"He was a special person and as a vet he had no peer.
"He had an intuitive sense with horses. He was a genius."
"Old dogs for the hard road and puppy dogs for the sand was one of Percy's favourite expressions.
"He used it jokingly to refer to younger, less experienced friends and associates, but when it came to horses and their well-being, we were all puppy dogs beside Percy.
"...he was my mentor and one of the founding pillars of Arrowfield. I learned so much from Percy, and will be forever grateful for his friendship and his wisdom."
Sykes treated horses for the most famous trainers in the industry, including TJ Smith, Bart Cummings, Gai Waterhouse and Jack Denham, and his skills were acknowledged throughout the racing world.
Born in Sudan in 1920, Sykes completed his training in London and served in India as a veterinary Officer in the Royal Army Veterinary Corps in the Second World War.
In 1951 Sykes emigrated to Australia where he established his practice PE Sykes & Partners, which became the Randwick Equine Centre.
James Cummings, training part and grandson of Bart, said the two were saddened to hear of Sykes' passing.
"JB and Percy went back a long way and held on to one of the oldest friendships in racing right up until the end," he said in a statement.
"In fact, they still conversed often by telephone and discussed horses, family and nutrition even when Percy was immobilised through ill-health.
"Just this morning (Monday) my grandfather and I came to a decision on a horse based on advice derived from the master diagnostician, and his presence will be sorely missed."
The Australian Turf Club will name a race in honour of Sykes at Saturday's Randwick meeting with Messara hoping a major race over the autumn carnival can also bear Sykes' name.