Walter Swinburn: Legendary jockey and Shergar Derby winner dead at 55

Jockey Walter Swinburn rode Shergar to victory in the 1981 Epsom Derby.

Story highlights

  • Jockey Walter Swinburn dies aged 55
  • Swinburn won Derby three times
  • Tributes paid by jockeys past and present

(CNN)Tributes have been paid to the renowned English jockey and horse trainer Walter Swinburn, who died Monday at the age of 55.

Swinburn won the Epsom Derby, Britain's richest horse race, three times over the course of his career, including on the legendary Shergar as a 19-year-old in 1981.
He also recorded wins at the Epsom and Irish Oaks, 2,000 Guineas, 1,000 Guineas and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.
Swinburn's other Derby wins came on Shahrastani in 1986 and Lammtarra in 1995 while international success was marked up at the likes of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in France, the EP Taylor Stakes in Canada and the Breeders Cup Turf in the US.
After retiring from racing in 2000, Swinburn took over a training license from his father-in-law Peter Harris in 2004.
It was Harris who confirmed the news of Swinburn's death to the UK's Press Association news agency, although no cause of death was immediately provided.
Jockeys past and present were quick to pay their respects.
The recently retired champion jockey AP McCoy tweeted that he was "very sad to hear about the death of Walter Swinburn. Brilliantly stylish & a genius in the saddle. A jockey that God hath retained. RIP."
Two-time Derby winner Frankie Dettori said that Swinburn was "a true talent and gentleman" while former Grand National-winning jockey Mick Fitzgerald hailed "a genius on a racehorse."
Shergar trainer Michael Stoute told the UK's Daily Telegraph newspaper that Swinburn was "nerveless" on the big days.
Once the most valuable racehorse in the world, Shergar was kidnapped from a stud farm in Ireland in 1983 and never returned.
Swinburn piloted Shergar to victory by 10 lengths in the 1981 Derby, the biggest winning margin in the prestigious race's history.