Tributes are being paid this evening to the three-time Derby-winning jockey Walter Swinburn, who has died, aged 55.
During a riding career that spanned more than 20 years, he wom most of the world’s top races, including the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in 1983, Newmarket’s 1,000 Guineas on three occasions and the 2,000 Guineas in 1988.
However, he was best known for riding Shergar, trained by the Newmarket-based Sir Michael Stoute, to a record 10 length victory in the 1981 Derby as a 19-year-old. They teamed up again later that year to win the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.
He would win the Epsom Classic twice more, in 1986 on Shahrastani, also trained by Sir Michael, and on Lammtarra for Saeed Bin Suroor in 1995.
After retiring from riding in 2000, he worked as a television analyst for Channel Four, before becoming a racehorse trainer in 2004. He gave up his licence five years ago.
Twenty-time champion jump jockey Sir Anthony McCoy led the tributes this evening, tweeting: “Very sad to hear about the death of Walter Swinburn. Brilliantly stylish & a genius in the saddle. A jockey that God hath retained. RIP”
Frankie Dettori said: “Very saddened to hear the shocking news of Walter Swinburn passing away. A true talent and gentleman, thoughts are with his family.”
Racing broadcaster Derek Thompson hailed him as “one of the finest horsemen I had ever seen.”
And Channel 4 Racing presenter Nick Luck wrote: “Such sad news that Walter Swinburn has died. Brilliantly unflappable on the big stage; a generous colleague and gentle man off it.”