Having been born and raised in Stirling, Scotland, Willie Carson 75, has been an ambassador for horse racing for many years and is a face is familiar to most people living in the United Kingdom. Featuring on television for decades, he was once a team captain of BBC1’s Question of Sport, appearing nationally every Saturday evening.
He earned his name in the sport that he still loves today and his journey began as an apprentice to North Yorkshire based Captain Gerald Armstrong. His first win of note came at Catterick Bridge in the Summer of 1962, when he rode Pinker’s Pond to victory in an apprentice handicap.
Willie Carson learned his trade over the next decade, at which point, he really came to prominence. 10 years after winning his first ever race, he went on to win his first British Champion Jockey title in 1972 and then again in 1973. It was a feat he repeated three more times, coming out on top in 1978, 1980 and 1983.
Ironically, Carson’s best ever tally came 7 years later in 1990, riding to an astonishing total of 187 winners. In many other years, this would have been enough to claim the Champion Jockey mantle, but the imposing figure of Pat Eddery stood in his way and got there first with a staggering 209 winners.
That same season saw Carson become one of just 4 jockeys ever to win 6 winners at the same track on the same day in the whole of the 20th century.
Carson always looked after himself and this allowed him to continue until well into his 50s. In 1996, he retired at the age of 54 and was very much still at the top of his game. In 1983, he was deservedly awarded an OBE for his contribution to horseracing and will certainly go down as one of the greats.