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Death at 90 of hay and straw magnate who supplied racing greats

Grundy defeating Bustino in the "race of the century" at Ascot
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Peter Walker, the main supplier of hay and straw to the top Newmarket and Lambourn stables towards the end of the last century, has died at his home in Cambridgeshire. He was 90.

Inherited from his father, Peter built up hay and straw merchants JP Walker & Son and ran it from 1968 to 2008, his son Chris joining the company in 1974 and his other son Alan ten years later.

His reputation went before him and between 1970 and 1990 he was the leading supplier of prime quality hay and straw to all the major trainers.

These were basically a who's who but included Sir Henry Cecil, Major Dick Hern, Sir Michael Stoute, Peter Walwyn, Sir Gordon Richards, Stan Mellor, Henrietta Knight, Geoff Lewis, Barry Hills, John Dunlop, Paul Cole, Luca Cumani, Jeremy Hindley, James Fanshawe, Arthur Budgett and Sir Noel Murless.

Walker was understandably proud of his reputation that during that time he had supplied hay for around 130 Classic winners, including greats such as Grundy, Shergar and Troy.

Walker was responsible for re-introducing Canadian hay to the British racing world by importing more than 3,000 tonnes a year from North America in the 1990s.

John Gosden said: "I remember Peter when he supplied Sir Noel Murless when I was there. He had a fair and honest approach to business and was very reliable."

The funeral is at Great Gransden Church, Great Gransden, Cambridgeshire on May 17 at 11am.

I remember Peter when he supplied Sir Noel Murless when I was there and he had a fair and honest approach to business and was very reliable

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