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Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Legacy set in stone as Newmarket pays fitting tribute to Walter Swinburn

(From left to right) Michael Swinburn, Doreen Swinburn, Sir Michael Stoute and Wally Swinburn at the unveiling
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A plaque bearing the name of the late Walter Swinburn was among four new additions to the "Legends of the Turf" walk along Newmarket High Street unveiled by local school children on Thursday morning.

Swinburn, who is widely recognised as one of the all time great jockeys, won three Epsom Derbys along with countless other Group 1s. Nicknamed the choirboy, he burst onto the scene aged 19 when recording one of the easiest Derby victories ever aboard Shergar in 1981.

He gave up raceriding in 2000 before taking up training, but sadly died in 2016 at the age of 55. 

The unveiling of the plaque was attended by Swinburn's former mentor Sir Michael Stoute as well as the jockey's two children Claudia and Millie, his parents Wally and Doreen and brother Michael.

It could not be more timely with the Qipco Guineas Festival just around the corner as the three-time Derby winning rider bred I Can Fly, a well fancied Aidan O'Brien-trained runner in the 1,000 Guineas on Sunday.

On the positioning of the plaque, Michael Swinburn said: "It's a great idea to put a plaque down in memory of Walter and it's very appropriate that it lies outside of Barclays Bank, as that's where he used to deposit all of his money over the years!"

Walter Swinburn plaque is positioned outside Barclays Bank

On the story behind I Can Fly, Swinburn continued: "It's amazing timing that we're all here now as Walter bred I Can Fly himself and she looks to have a good chance in the 1,000 Guineas. He sold her to Coolmore as a yearling for 240,000gns in October 2016 and he died only two months later. "

The daughter of Fastnet Rock was third on her reappearance in the Group 3 1,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown last month and is expected to be suited by longer trips.

Click here to view the 1,000 Guineas card, where I Can Fly features

Swinburn added: "We hope the ground dries out a bit for her – but not too much – as we see her as a mile and a quarter filly or even an Oaks prospect, so she'll be doing all her best work late on. If she pulls it off it would be an incredible story."

I Can Fly (left) finishing third to Who's Steph (right) at Leopardstown earlier in the season

As well as the tribute to Swinburn, the other plaques unveiled were in tribute to three-time champion trainer Sir Jack Jarvis, popular royal rider Willie Snaith and the great mare and 1985 horse of the year Pebbles.

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It's very appropriate that it lies outside of Barclays Bank, as that's where he used to deposit all of his money over the years!
E.W. Terms
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