Walter Swinburn – Five magical moments to savour

Shergar, Walter Swinburn Epsom Derby 1981

Walter Swinburn partnered Shergar among a host of other greats

  PICTURE: Mark Cranham (  

 By Katherine Fidler 3:10PM 13 DEC 2016 

WALTER SWINBURN’S career in the saddle was littered with big-race success aboard some of the great stars of the turf. Following his death on Monday, we reflect on five of his finest victories.

1981 Derby
The horse with whom Swinburn will always be most closely associated, Shergar provided the then 19-year-old jockey with the first of three wins in the Derby after obliterating the field to score by ten lengths.

Swinburn, in the Aga Khan’s famous emerald and red silks he would wear on countless big occasions, let Shergar bowl along at his own pace before flipping the switch as they emerged from Tattenham Corner, leaving their rivals for dust and setting a record winning distance.

All Along - Walter Swinburn

All Along and Swinburn after victory in Paris

  PICTURE: Mark Cranham (  

All Along
1983 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe
In an event dominated by fillies, Swinburn read the race like a book, holding up his mount until the straight before setting sail for the finish. All Along displaying a blistering turn of foot in the final half-furlong to score by a length for Patrick Biancone and Daniel Wildenstein.

Victory in Paris would later earn All Along Eclipse Horse of the Year honours – the first filly to win the accolade in its current guise.

Shahrastani - Walter Swinburn

Shahrastani beats Dancing Brave in the 1986 Derby

  PICTURE: Mark Cranham (  

1986 Derby
The by-now-formidable trio of Swinburn, Sir Michael Stoute and the Aga Khan teamed up again to land the crowning jewel of the Flat, although many still argue it was the race Dancing Brave lost, rather than the Derby Shahrastani won when holding off the late challenge of Greville Starkey’s mount.

However, Swinburn and Shahrastani teamed up again three weeks later, leading the Irish Derby runners a merry dance to score by eight lengths.


Lammtarra (green) received one of Swinburn’s most celebrated rides

  PICTURE: Mark Cranham  

1995 Derby
Victory on Lammtarra at Epsom in 1995 was emotional for all concerned after the colt’s trainer Alex Scott had been fatally shot by a groom at his Glebe Farm Stud the previous September.

Despite rounding Tattenham Corner towards the rear of the field on the rail, Swinburn found a gap to unleash his mount, with the pair reeling in Frankie Dettori and Tamure to score by a length – setting a record time that stood until 2010.

Pilsudski (Walter Swinburn)

Swinburn returned from serious injuries to win on Pilsudski

1996 Breeders’ Cup Turf
It was the year Swinburn suffered serious injuries at Sha Tin, resulting in time in intensive care, but he proved back to his best when leading home a European 1-2-3-4 in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Woodbine.

In a quality renewal, Swinburn tucked Pilsudski in behind the leaders before mounting his challenge in the straight to deny his Sir Michael Stoute-trained stablemate Singspiel by a length and a quarter.

Horse Racing News | Racing Post

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