Willie Carson

Last updated

Willie Carson
William Fisher Hunter Carson

(1942-11-16) 16 November 1942 (age 78)
Stirling, Scotland
Carol Spares
(m. 1963;div. 1979)

Elaine Williams
(m. 1982)
1000 Guineas (2)
Owner Mr Hamdan Al Maktoum.svg Owner John C Mabee.svg Owner The Hon. Mrs J. M. Corbett.svg
SalsabilHeart Of JoyNegligent
Owner Mr Hamdan Al Maktoum.svg Owner M C Throsby.svg Owner Mrs A L Chapman.svg
ShadayidKooyongaCrystal Gazing
2000 Guineas (4)
Owner Sir Jules Thorn.svg Owner J W Galbreath.svg Owner Ballymacoll Stud.svg
High TopRobertoSun Prince
Owner Niarchos Family.svg Owner Mr K Abdulla.svg Owner Ogden Mills Phipps.svg
NureyevKnown FactPosse
Owner Mr James Horgan.svg Owner Mr K Abdulla.svg Owner prince a faisal.svg
Don't Forget MeBellottoMidyan
Owner Mr Hamdan Al Maktoum.svg Owner Mr K Abdulla white cap.svg Owner Mr K Abdulla.svg
Derby (4)
Owner Ballymacoll Stud.svg Owner Mrs J P Binet.svg Owner Anne-Marie d'Estainville.svg
TroyDickens HillNorthern Baby
Owner Etti Plesch.svg Owner Mr R Barnett.svg Owner Mr Ron Fennell.svg
HenbitMaster WillieRankin
Owner Mr Hamdan Al Maktoum.svg Owner The Dowager Lady Beaverbrook.svg Owner Lady Harrison.svg
Owner Mr Hamdan Al Maktoum.svg Owner Sheikh Mohammed white cap.svg Owner Mr B V Sangster.svg
ErhaabKing's TheatreColonel Collins
Oaks (4)
Owner The Queen.svg Owner Mr L Gatto-Roissard.svg Owner Mr L Gatto-Roissard yellow cap.svg
DunfermlineFreeze the SecretVaguely Deb
Owner Mr M H Dixon.svg Owner Mr T F Blackwell.svg Owner Sir John Astor.svg
BiremeVielleThe Dancer
Owner Ballymacoll Stud.svg Owner Mr J Hambro.svg Owner Mr S T Wong.svg
Sun PrincessAcclimatiseNew Coins
Owner Mr Hamdan Al Maktoum.svg Owner Mrs Harold Phillips.svg Owner HRH Prince Fahd Salman.svg
SalsabilGame PlanKnight's Baroness
St Leger (3)
Owner The Queen.svg Owner Mr B V Sangster.svg Owner Colonel F R Hue-Williams.svg
DunfermlineAllegedClassic Example
Owner Ballymacoll Stud.svg Owner Mr Robin F Scully.svg Owner Sheikh Mohammed.svg
Sun PrincessEsprit du NordCarlingford Castle
Owner The Dowager Lady Beaverbrook.svg Owner Sheikh Mohammed.svg Owner Lavinia Duchess Of Norfolk.svg
Minster SonDiminuendoSheriff's Star

William Fisher Hunter Carson, OBE (born 16 November 1942) [1] is a retired jockey in thoroughbred horse racing.


Life and career

Best known as "Willie", Carson was born in Stirling, Scotland in 1942. 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. This included riding six winners at Newcastle Racecourse on 30 June, making Carson one of only four jockeys to ride six winners at one meeting during the 20th century. However, he came second in the 1990 jockeys' championship to Pat Eddery (who rode 209 winners).

Carson had a long association with trainer Major Dick Hern for whom he rode his first three Derby winners. Five feet tall and riding at an easily maintained weight of 7 stone 10 pounds (49 kg) Carson 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 three sons Anthony, Neil, and Ross.

In 1983, Willie Carson was made an Officer 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 co-presented BBC horse racing on BBC1 until the BBC ended their racing coverage at the end of the 2012 season.

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.

In November 2010, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by University of Chester. [2]

In 2011, he came 5th in the eleventh series of ITV1's reality television show I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!.

Major wins

Flag of France.svg France

Flag of Germany.svg Germany

Flag of Ireland.svg Ireland

Flag of Italy.svg Italy

The British progressive rock band It Bites' 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".

Related Research Articles

Michael Kinane Irish former flat racing jockey (born 1959)

Michael J. Kinane is an Irish former flat racing jockey. He had a 34-year career, retiring on 8 December 2009.

Richard Hills is a retired flat racing jockey. He is twin brother to Michael Hills and their father is former racehorse trainer Barry Hills. The twins' older brother John Hills was also a trainer. They also have two younger brothers, Charles Hills and George Hills who works in the Breeding and Insurance side of the industry in Kentucky, United States. Richard enjoys breeding ducks, Persian Cats and plane spotting.

The Sprint Cup is a Group 1 flat horse race in Great Britain open to thoroughbreds aged three years or older. It is run at Haydock Park over a distance of 6 furlongs, and it is scheduled to take place each year in early September.

Pat Eddery

Patrick James John Eddery was an Irish flat racing jockey and horse trainer. He rode three winners of The Derby, and was Champion Jockey on eleven occasions. He rode the winners of 4,632 British flat races, a figure exceeded only by Sir Gordon Richards.

William Richard Hern was an English Thoroughbred racehorse trainer and winner of sixteen British Classic Races between 1962 and 1995, and was Champion Trainer on four occasions.

Cash Asmussen

Cash Asmussen is an American thoroughbred horse racing jockey. Born Brian Keith Asmussen, in 1977 he legally changed his name to "Cash".

Freddy Head is a retired champion jockey in Thoroughbred horse racing and currently a horse trainer. Known also as "Freddie", his grandfather was a jockey as was his father Alec Head who also became a successful trainer and owner of Haras du Quesnay near Deauville. Alec Head's horses won The Derby and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

Nashwan American-bred Thoroughbred racehorse

Nashwan was an American-bred, British-trained Thoroughbred racehorse and sire. After winning both his starts as a two-year-old, he developed into an outstanding performer in the spring and summer of 1989, completing a unique four-timer when winning the 2000 Guineas, Epsom Derby, Eclipse Stakes, and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. After sustaining his only defeat in the Prix Niel in September, he was retired to stud where he was a successful sire of winners.

Shadwell Racing Thoroughbred horse racing operation

Shadwell Racing is the Thoroughbred horse racing operations of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

John Leeper Dunlop was an English race horse trainer based in Arundel, Sussex. He trained the winners of 74 Group One races, including 10 British Classics, with over 3000 winners in total. He was the British flat racing Champion Trainer in 1995.

Barry Hills is a retired British thoroughbred horse trainer. He lives in Lambourn, England.

Troy (horse) Irish-bred Thoroughbred racehorse

Troy was an Irish-bred, British-trained Thoroughbred racehorse and sire. In a career that lasted from 1978 to 1979, he ran eleven times and won eight races. He is most notable for his form in the summer of 1979, when he won the 200th running of the Derby and subsequently added victories in the Irish Derby, the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and the Benson and Hedges Gold Cup. He was retired to stud at the end of the season. His career as a stallion lasted only four years before he died in 1983.

The Height of Fashion Stakes is a Listed flat horse race in Great Britain open to three-year-old fillies. It is run at Goodwood over a distance of 1 mile, 1 furlong and 197 yards, and it is scheduled to take place each year in May.

Dayjur was an American-bred, British-trained Thoroughbred racehorse. A specialist sprinter he ran eleven times between June 1989 and October 1990 and won seven races. In 1990 he dominated European sprinting, winning the King's Stand Stakes' the Nunthorpe Stakes, the Ladbroke Sprint Cup and the Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp. On his final racecourse appearance he finished second to Safely Kept in the Breeders' Cup Sprint. The Racing Post called him "the world's fastest horse".

Habibti was an Irish-bred British-trained Thoroughbred racehorse and broodmare who was one of the highest-rated sprinters in European racing history. Habibti was unbeaten as a two-year-old, winning the Group Two Lowther Stakes in England and the Moyglare Stud Stakes in Ireland. In early 1983 she was campaigned over longer distances without success before being switched to sprinting in summer. She won her remaining four races that season, taking the July Cup at Newmarket, the William Hill Sprint Championship at York, the Vernons Sprint Cup at Haydock Park and the Prix de l'Abbaye at Longchamp Racecourse. At the end of the season she was named Britain's Horse of the Year and was rated the best three-year-old filly of the last thirty-six years by Timeform. Habibti was less successful when kept in training at four, but did win the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot. At the end of 1984 she was retired to stud, where she had little success as a producer of winners.

Greville Michael Wilson Starkey was an English jockey who rode almost 2,000 winners during a 33-year career on the flat.

Muhtarram American-bred Thoroughbred racehorse

Muhtarram is an American-bred, British-trained Thoroughbred race horse. He won the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Ascot twice, in addition to the Irish Champion Stakes and the Premio Presidente della Repubblica in Italy.

Sun Princess (horse) Irish-bred Thoroughbred racehorse

Sun Princess (1980–2001), was an Irish-bred British-trained Thoroughbred racehorse and Broodmare. In a career which lasted from September 1982 until October 1984, she ran ten times and won three races. She recorded all her successes at Group One level when a three-year-old in 1983 winning the Classic Epsom Oaks by a record margin of twelve lengths and the Yorkshire Oaks against other females before defeating colts in the St. Leger Stakes. In the same season she was placed in Europe's two most prestigious all-aged races, finishing third in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and second in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. She raced without winning in 1984 before she was retired to stud, where she became the dam of several winners including the Dewhurst Stakes winner Prince of Dance.

Salsabil (horse) Irish-bred Thoroughbred racehorse

Salsabil was an Irish-bred, British-trained Thoroughbred racehorse and broodmare. In a racing career which lasted from September 1989 to October 1990 she ran nine times and won seven races. Salsabil was one of the leading two-year-old fillies in Europe in 1989, winning two races including the Group One Prix Marcel Boussac at the Longchamp. After winning the Fred Darling Stakes on her three-year-old debut, Salsabil won both of Britain's Classic races for fillies: the 1000 Guineas over one mile at Newmarket and the Oaks over one and a half miles at Epsom. She was then raced against colts and became the first filly for ninety years to win the Irish Derby at the Curragh. In autumn, Salsabil added a victory in the Prix Vermeille at Longchamp but finished unplaced when favourite for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in October. Salsabil was then retired to stud where she had success as a broodmare before dying of cancer in 1996.

Height of Fashion was French-bred, British-trained Thoroughbred racehorse and broodmare. Owned and bred by Queen Elizabeth II, was undefeated in her three races as a two-year-old in 1981, winning the Acomb Stakes, May Hill Stakes and Fillies' Mile. In the following year she added a win in the Lupe Stakes before a record-breaking victory in the Princess of Wales's Stakes. She ran poorly in her two remaining races and was retired to stud at the end of the season. Height of Fashion proved to be an exceptional broodmare, producing the major stakes winners Unfuwain, Nashwan and Nayef. She died in Kentucky in 2000.


  1. 1 2 "Willie Carson, top UK Jockey".
  2. "Stars of sport, entertainment and education honoured". chester.ac.uk. 4 November 2010. Retrieved 9 January 2011.
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Hamdan Al Maktoum retained jockey
Until 1997
Succeeded by
Richard Hills