Walter Swinburn--8st 8lbs--54.5kgs
"The Choirboy"

Available for corporate hospitality, photo-calls, etc. Call Nick Higgins on +44 7796 99 68 99

Walter Swinburn is the son of Wally Swinburn, himself a successful rider on the flat in Ireland.
Walter's first winner was on Paddy's Luck at Kempton on 12 July, 1978.

Walter was apprenticed to Frenchie Nicholson and Reg Hollinshead--both of whom had also minded Pat Eddery, Greville Starkey, Kevin Darley and Willie Ryan.

Walter's big break was with the incredible Shergar, on whom he won the 1981 Derby by a record 10 lengths.

From then on, Walter was for ever to be associated with Sir Michael Stoute and the pair had great success with fillies and colts.

For Walter, the first of these was with All Along (trained by Patrick Biancome) in the 1983 Arc de Triomphe.
The combination completed an amazing treble at the time, notably the Washington DC International and the Canadian International as well.

1986 saw Walter land the Derby again aboard Shahrastani in the race most people say Dancing Brave lost.
However, nothing can be taken away from Walter's attacking tactics on the day.
The pair also won the Irish Derby but were then beaten by Dancing Brave in the King George and Arc.

In the early 1990's, Walter, like other colleagues, changed his riding style from foot in the iron to a sort of kneeling on tip toes style with knees gripping the horse's withers in a rythmical swaying action.

As a consequence, his rhythm with a horse's stride and hold of its head improved too---gone were the days of very loose reins.

It is probably fair to say that Walter was probably the best example to young riders of a balance between the American and English styles of riding.
His whip control & twirls were also a delight to watch.

Alan shares a joke with Walter Swinburn and Frankie Dettori.
Click to see the larger photo by Jose-Antonio RodriguezAlthough Swinburn felt a bit narked by Jerry Bailey's comments about his style when the American rider passed him on Arcangues in the 1993 Breeders' Cup Classic, revenge was in store for Walter.

In February, 1996, he suffered a serious fall from Liffey River at Sha Tin racecourse in Hong Kong.
Many people were surprised at the mark the accident had left on Walter when he appeared on Channel 4 tv that summer.

He made a winning return on Talathath at Windsor on 12th August 1996 and then landed the Grosser Preis Von Baden in Germany three weeks later on the Stoute-trained Pilsudski.

Walter showed the US public what he was made of in November'96 with a masterful ride up the inside to win the Breeders' Cup Turf at Woodbine.

It is no secret that Walter always had problems with weight.
Quite tall and thick set, he never had as many rides in a season as his colleagues and only once did he surpass the 100 winner mark.

However, in March 1997, Walter faced the facts and admitted he was suffering from an eating disorder.
He buckled down to sorting the problem out by taking advice from his friend Steve Cauthen and visited a clinic in the US.

After nearly a year out, he did return in 1998 and won 51 races in the UK and collected the Italian Oaks (Zomaradah) and the Coronation Stakes (Exclusive).
He also linked up with the Aidan O'Brien stable and won the Heinz 57 Stakes in August'98 on Lavery.

Soon after, what looked like a "week's rest" turned out to be a 19 month sabatical to again, once and for all, conquer his weight problems.

It was great news to hear in the early months of 2000 that Walter was back on the Newmarket gallops in a comeback bid.
His come-back ride was at Wolverhampton on March 16th, 2000, finishing 8th on Diamond Flame.

Soon after that he appeared on Channel 4 looking very gaunt but declaring himself "happy and in a place where I want to be".
A win at Newcastle on the the Jeremy Noseda-trained Blue Forest on March 28th and four more in the early days of April meant Walter had got off to a good start.

His comeback riding weight had been 8st 11 lbs and week by week he was trying to get it down to 8-9. Maybe he was trying too hard, too quickly.
He surprised everyone by declaring his official retirement at Kempton on 22nd April, 2000.

Today, Walter seems a very happy man, at peace with his weight, and has settled in very well to providing a very eloquent and informative commentating view on Channel 4.

In March 2004, Walter announced that he would be taking over the reins from his father-in-law, top trainer Peter Harris, in 2005 at the successful Buckinghamshire base. It will be interesting to see what Walter will say if and when one of his fillies beats a Stoute filly in the 1,000 Guineas !

British Classic wins: (8)

  • Derby--1981 Shergar,1986 Shahrastani,1995 Lammtarra
  • Oaks--1987 Unite
  • 2,000 Guineas--1988 Doyoun.
  • 1,000 Guineas--1989 Musical Bliss, 1992 Hatoof, 1993 Sayyedati.

    UK Wins:

  • 1980--49
  • 1981--65 11th
  • 1982--64 12th
  • 1983--62 8th
  • 1984--99
  • 1985--
  • 1986--
  • 1987--92 5th
  • 1988--88 7th
  • 1989--94 6th
  • 1990--111
  • 1991--68 18th
  • 1992--82
  • 1993--93 11th
  • 1994--75
  • 1995--60
  • 1996--15
  • 1997--0
  • 1998--51
  • 1999--0
  • 2000--5 (1,391 career wins in UK)

    Best horses ridden:Shergar, Sharahstani, Lammtarra, Shareef Dancer, Shadeed, Zilzal, Halling, All Along, Marling, Pilsudski, Green Desert, Ajdal

    Big Race Wins:

  • Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe--1983 All Along
  • Breeders' Cup Turf--1996 Pilsudski
  • Irish Derby--1983 Shareef Dancer,1986 Shahrastani.
  • Irish Oaks--1987 Unite, 1988 Melodist
  • Irish 2,000 Guineas--1989 Shaadi.
  • Irish 1,000 Guineas--1986 Sonic Lady, 1992 Marling
  • German Derby--1988 Luigi.
  • Italian Oaks--1986 Ivor's Image, 1988 Melodist, 1991 Possessive Dancer, 1998 Zomaradah.
  • King George VI--1981 Shergar.
  • Eclipse Stakes--1994 Ezzoud, 1995 Halling.
  • Yorkshire Oaks--1985 Sally Brown.
  • Washington International--1983 All Along.
  • Canadian International--1983 All Along.
  • Sussex Stakes--1986 Sonic Lady, 1989 Zilzal.
  • St James's Palace Stakes--1989 Shaadi.
  • Ascot Gold Cup--1991 Indian Queen.
  • Coronation Stakes--1986 Sonic Lady, 1992 Marling, 1998 Exclusive.
  • Queen Elizabeth II Stakes--1982 Buzzards Bay, 1985 Shadeed, 1989 Zilzal.
  • Champion Stakes--1993 Hatoof.
  • Juddmonte International Stakes--1986 Shardari, 1993 & 94 Ezzoud, 1995 Halling.
  • Coronation Cup--1992 Saddlers' Hall.
  • July Cup--1981 Marwell, 1986 Green Desert, 1987 Ajdal.
  • Haydock Sprint Cup--1986 Green Desert, 1987 Ajdal.
  • Fillies' Mile--1985 Untold
  • Cheveley Park Stakes 1991 Marling, 1992 Sayyedati.
  • Middle Park Stakes--1995 Royal Applause.
  • Dewhurst Stakes--1986 Ajdal.

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