Kinane leads tributes to ‘hugely talented’ Swinburn

Walter Swinburn: died on Monday aged 55

PICTURE: Edward Whitaker ( Kinane leads tributes to 'talented ' Swinburn By Jack Haynes 7:35PM 12 DEC 2016

MICK KINANE has led the tributes to his former weighing room colleague Walter Swinburn, who died on Monday aged 55.

Kinane, who also won the Derby three times, described Swinburn as "a hugely talented man" with the coolest of big-race temperaments.

He added: "His ride on Lammtarra, a maiden winner in the Derby, was a phenomenal achievement to manage an inexperienced horse around Epsom. That was one of his outstanding achievements and he definitely had ice in his veins on the big days – nothing seemed to bother him.

"He was a hugely talented man with fantastic, lovely, quiet hands. Horses settled for him and he was a great talent.

'It's very sad'

John Reid, who also rode against Swinburn in the 80s and 90s, spoke fondly of the rider known as the Choirboy, describing him as "a good fella and a nice guy".

Reid said: "He had an amazing career. The thing with Walter he was so talented it almost looked like he didn't have to put any effort into it. I envied him as a rider because he was a beautiful horsemen with a really relaxed style. It's very sad at his age to have such a short life.

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"You can learn to ride, but there are some things that can't be learned and Walter was one of those guys who had that magic touch about him. That's why Sir Michael Stoute loved him. No matter how badly he behaved – and sometimes he did – he was so talented all the trainers wanted him to ride for them.

"On the big day there was nobody better; he was very cool, calm and collected and get the best out of a horse. He was a good fella and a nice guy, just like all the Swinburns and I feel very sorry for them."

'He was at his happiest on a horse'

John Francome, a friend of Swinburn, spoke of his shock having heard the news on Monday.

Francome said on At The Races: "The news comes as an absolute shock as I only spoke to him a few months ago. He did have his troubled ways a long time ago but it's shocking that he has died so young. He was an absolutely gifted rider – and he lived life to the full. He was at his happiest on a horse."

Reaction on social media

Sir Anthony McCoy (@AP_McCoy)
Very sad to hear about the death of Walter Swinburn. Brilliantly stylish & a genius in the saddle. A jockey that God hath retained. RIP

Robert Cowell (@cowellracing)
OMG – am in total shock – the most pleasant chap you could ever meet and a hero of mine. #RIPWalter

Jeremy Noseda (@Jeremy Noseda)
Very sad to hear of the passing of Walter – a racing legend, a gentleman and a true friend. My thoughts and prayers are with his family

Frankie Dettori (@FrankieDettori)
Very saddened to hear the shocking news of Walter Swinburn passing away. A true talent and gentleman, thoughts are with his family.

David Pipe (@DavidPipeRacing)
Shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of Walter Swinburn. RIP.

Gary Witheford (@Gary Witheford)
Just reading all the amazing tributes, shocked that we've lost another legend #RIPWalter

Royston Ffrench (@RoystonFfrench)
RIP Walter Swinburn, very sad news. Walter was an inspiration to me when I started out. A true legend of our great sport.

Nick Luck (@nickluck)
Such sad news that Walter Swinburn has died. Brilliantly unflappable on the big stage; a generous colleague and gentle man off it.

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