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Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Death of Epsom stalwart Derek Wilmot at age of 70

Derek Wilmot: long serving groom who has died aged 70
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Derek Wilmot, whose contribution to racing in Epsom was recognised with a Lifetime in Racing Award last month, has died aged 70.

Wilmot, a groom for more than half a century, looked after Sir Peter O'Sullevan's dual-purpose star Attivo during a 44-year association with Cyril and then Philip Mitchell.

Since 2006 he had worked for Pat Phelan and regularly rode out for the trainer, stopping only earlier this year due to illness.

Because of illness he was unable to attend the Epsom Owners' and Trainers' Awards Dinner at which he was to be honoured.

Phelan said: "Derek had been in racing for something like 55 years. Sir Peter O'Sullevan in his book said Attivo would not have been the horse he was were it not for his groom Derek Wilmot.

"In his will Sir Peter left Derek a picture of Attivo going to the start for the Northumberland Plate under Lester Piggott.

"He was a legend in the Epsom area as you can imagine. He had been really chuffed to know he was to receive his award and only pulled out of attending at the last minute. His daughter accepted on his behalf.

"Derek was one of the old school guys that they don't make anymore. He turned 70 in February when he was still riding three lots a day, starting at about 5.45am. He was first in the yard and could turn his hand to anything.

"You couldn't say enough about Derek. He was one of those quiet achievers."

Wilmot lived in Tadworth on the edge of the downs in the house he bought with his winnings from backing Attivo for the Triumph Hurdle. His wife Sue, who worked for Arthur Pitt, predeceased him and he is survived by daughters Annie and Jane.

Funeral details have yet to be announced.

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You couldn't say enough about Derek. He was one of those quiet achievers

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