Willie Carson is one of Great Britain’s must successful jockeys of all-time, landing the coveted British Champion Jockey title in 1972, 1973, 1978, 1980 and 1983.
He passed 100 winners in a flat racing season 23 times, going past the post first on a remarkable 3,828 occasions. That ranks him fourth highest in the list of winners.
Always a man for the big occasion, Carson claimed victory in a total of 17 British Classics. He won the Derby four times between 1979 and 1994, he pulled off a quartet of Oaks triumphs, four 2000 Guineas, two 1000 Guineas and a trio of St Legers. He also won 11 Irish Classics.
The highlight of Carson’s illustrious career was riding the Queen’s filly Dunfermline to victory in the Oaks and St Leger in 1977, the year of the monarch’s Silver Jubilee celebrations.
Statistically, 1990 was Carson’s best ever season, winning 187 races, but he finished the campaign as runner-up to Pat Eddery, who topped the 200 mark.
During the 20th Century, only six jockeys ever pulled of a six-timer in one day at the same racecourse, a feat Carson achieved on June 30, 1990, at Newcastle.
Carson’s diminutive frame made him extremely popular with owners and trainers. Standing just 5ft tall, weighing in at around 49 kg, he was in demand right up until his retirement at the age of 54.
In 1983 the brilliant Scot was awarded an OBE for his services to horse racing.