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Willie Carson

William Fisher Hunter Carson, OBE (born 16 November 1942) is a retired jockey in thoroughbred horse racing.

Best known as "Willie", Carson was born in Stirling, Scotland. In 1957 he was apprenticed to Captain Gerald Armstrong at his stables at Tupgill, North Yorkshire. His first winner in Britain was Pinker's Pond in a seven-furlong apprentice handicap at Catterick Bridge Racecourse on 19 July 1962.

He was British Champion Jockey five times (1972, 1973, 1978, 1980 and 1983), won 17 British Classic Races, and passed 100 winners in a season 23 times for a total of 3,828 wins, making him the fourth most successful jockey in Great Britain.

Willie Carson's best season as a jockey came in 1990 when he rode 187 winners, including riding 6 winners on the card at Newcastle Racecourse in June, one of only four jockeys to complete this feat during the 20th century. Curiously he only came second in the 1990 jockey's championship to Pat Eddery who rode 209 winners.

Carson had a long association with trainer Major Dick Hern for whom he rode his first 3 Derby winners. Five feet tall and riding at an easily maintained weight of 7st 10 lbs he was much in demand as a jockey up to his retirement in 1996 at the age of 54.

In 1980 he took over the Minster House Stud at Ampney Crucis near Cirencester and he and his wife Elaine have developed it into a state of the art stud complex. He is almost certainly the only jockey in the 20th century to have ridden a horse that he bred, Minster Son, to victory in one of the Classic races, the St. Leger Stakes 1988. He and his ex wife Carol had 3 sons Anthony, Neil, and Ross.

In 1983, Willie Carson was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire for his services to horse racing . [1].

From 1982 to 1983 Carson joined Bill Beaumont as one of the team captains for A Question of Sport. With Clare Balding, Carson now co-presents BBC horse racing coverage.

He was chairman of Swindon Town FC from 2001 until August 2007 when, following a takeover of the club by Best Holdings SGPS S.A he was replaced by Jim Little. Swindon Town are now run by Andrew Fitton and his consortium.


Major wins

Flag of United Kingdom Great Britain

  • 2,000 Guineas – (4) – High Top (1972), Known Fact (1980), Don't Forget Me (1987), Nashwan (1989)
  • Ascot Gold Cup – (3) – Little Wolf (1983), Longboat (1986), Sadeem (1989)
  • Dewhurst Stakes – (3) – Prince of Dance (1988, dead heat), Dr. Devious (1991), Alhaarth (1995)
  • Eclipse Stakes – (3) – Ela-Mana-Mou (1980), Nashwan (1989), Elmaamul (1990)
  • Fillies' Mile – (2) – Quick As Lightning (1979), Aqaarid (1994)
  • July Cup – (2) – Habibti (1983), Hamas (1993)
  • Middle Park Stakes – (4) – Sharpen Up (1971), Known Fact (1979), Rodrigo de Triano (1991), Fard (1994)
  • Oaks – (4) – Dunfermline (1977), Bireme (1980), Sun Princess (1983), Salsabil (1990)
  • Queen Elizabeth II Stakes – (8) – Rose Bowl (1975 & 1976), Trusted (1977), Homing (1978), Known Fact (1980), Teleprompter (1984), Lahib (1992), Bahri (1995)
  • St. Leger – (3) – Dunfermline (1977), Sun Princess (1983), Minster Son (1988)
  • Sun Chariot Stakes – (4) – Duboff (1975), Dusty Dollar (1986), Ristna (1991), Talented (1993)
  • Yorkshire Oaks – (5) – Dibidale (1974), Sun Princess (1983), Circus Plume (1984), Roseate Tern (1989), Hellenic (1990)

Flag of France France

Flag of Germany Germany

Flag of Republic of Ireland Ireland

  • Irish Oaks – (4) – Dibidale (1974), Shoot A Line (1980), Swiftfoot (1982), Helen Street (1985)

Flag of Italy Italy

  • Premio Roma – (2) – High Hawk (1983), Highland Chieftain (1989)

In popular culture

The British progressive rock band It Bites' epic song "Once Around The World" (from the album of the same name) contains the lyric "Willie Carson, done for arson, for burning up the track".

External links

See also


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