Walter Swinburn: AP McCoy leads the tributes as Shergar jockey dies aged 55

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.

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.

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.”

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