The career of Walter Swinburn, one of the most successful jockeys of his generation, has come to an end for the third, and apparently final, time. Swinburn, 38, who has struggled with both injuries and his weight for a number of years, told his fellow jockeys of his decision at Kempton Park on Saturday.
"He rode at Kempton and went into the changing room and said, 'that's it, I'm not riding again'," John Hanmer, Swinburn's agent, said yesterday. "I think it's basically the weight. He was riding well and he had plenty of rides. I had a handful of rides booked for him including two for tomorrow but I've told the people concerned that he's not riding any more."
Swinburn had ridden five winners since his latest return to race-riding at Wolverhampton last month. He had previously taken a break from racing in August 1998 after recurring problems with his weight, while it took him almost 18 months to recover from a near-fatal fall at Sha Tin in early 1996.
Swinburn broke into the big time at the age of 19 when winning the 1981 Derby on Shergar, and also rode Lammtarra and Shahrastani to victory in the premier Classic. He was always a man for the grand occasion, and rode the winners of eight British Classics, the St Leger being the only one to elude him. The Eclipse, King George, Sussex Stakes and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes also figured among his many Group One winners.
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