Racing: Johnny Haine dies at 55

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The Independent Online
JOHNNY HAINE, who won the Champion Hurdle in 1966 on Salmon Spray, was found dead at his home yesterday. Haine, 55, who lived in Crudwell, near Malmesbury, in Wiltshire, was found by his wife.

Pc Roger Bull, of Wiltshire police, said that a post mortem was being carried out to discover the cause of death. "At this stage there is nothing to say that he died in suspicious circumstances," he added.

Other big race successes included the Tote Champion Novices' Chase on Buona notte, the Topham Trophy on Charter Flight and the Scottish Grand National on Popham Down.

He started riding at the age of 15 in 1958 as an apprentice to Bob Turnell, for whom he rode his first Flat winner on Misconception at Bath.

He rode around 30 winners on the Flat, but switched to jumping due to increasing weight. Buona notte also gave him his first big National Hunt success, in a division of the Gloucestershire Hurdle at Cheltenham in 1963, and he was inconsolable when the horse fell fatally in the Great Yorkshire Chase at Doncaster in 1965.

He won the Welsh Grand National on Charlie H and the Imperial Cup on Sir Thopas.

He started training in 1975, while continuing to ride, and landed his first victory in that sphere with Palacelli at Ludlow. Jenny Splendid proved a flag-bearer on the Flat in 1976, after which he retired from the saddle to concentrate on training.

He was married three times, firstly to Sue Williams - sister of Stan Mellor's wife, Elain. Subsequently he married Tom Jones's daughter Diana - mother of his son George and daughter Penny - and when that marriage was dissolved he remarried his first wife.