AP McCoy described Walter Swinburn as a “genius in the saddle” following the jockey’s death at the age of 55.
Swinburn was one of the most renowned riders of his generation and will forever be inextricably linked with the brilliant Shergar, who he partnered to glory in the 1981 Derby at the age of 19.
Very sad to hear about the death of Walter Swinburn. Brilliantly stylish & a genius in the saddle. A jockey that God hath retained. RIP— AP McCoy (@AP_McCoy) December 12, 2016
Nicknamed Choirboy, Swinburn also had winners in the Epsom Classic alongside Shahrastani (1986) and Lammtarra (1995).
Many other big-race successes around the world adorned his CV before his retirement in 2000.
And the racing world was quick to pay tribute to a true giant of the sport.
In tribute to Walter Swinburn, a fine win as a 19-year-old on the great Shergar in the King George & Queen Elizabeth Stakes pic.twitter.com/MPBGBHqYfM— Ascot Racecourse (@Ascot) December 12, 2016
Very saddened to hear the shocking news of Walter Swinburn passing away. A true talent and gentleman, thoughts are with his family.— Frankie Dettori (@FrankieDettori) December 12, 2016
Walter Swinburn was a genius on a racehorse. He had beautiful hands and looked like he was born to ride.
May he rest in peace— mick fitzgerald (@mickfitzg) December 12, 2016
Very sad to hear that Walter Swinburn has past away brilliant jockey & poetry in the saddle. RIP— Richard Johnson (@dickyjohnson77) December 12, 2016
Shocked with the awful news that Walter Swinburn has passed away,another jockey has gone too soon.Immensely talented and gifted rider— Richard Hughes (@RHughesracing) December 12, 2016
Swinburn took over the training licence from his father-in-law, Peter Harris, in November 2004, sending out over 260 winners from his Hertfordshire base before handing in his licence at the end of October 2011, citing financial reasons.
He also enjoyed a successful period as part of the Channel 4 Racing team.
Leading French trainer Criquette Head-Maarek described Swinburn as “one of the greatest ever jockeys”.
Head-Maarek and Swinburn developed a fruitful association in the 1990s, most notably with Hatoof, on whom the rider won the 1000 Guineas and the Champion Stakes at Newmarket.
The Chantilly handler said: “When I found out about the news of Walter dying, I was very, very sad.
“We had some glorious times together and won a lot of big races with horses like Hatoof.
“He was such a talented rider. He had really soft hands and had fantastic judgement during races.
“He was also a great horseman and seemed to know exactly what he was doing all the time.
“In my opinion, I think he was one of the greatest ever jockeys.”