Willie is possible Britain’s most well-known jockeys, as well as being one of its great characters. He is probably most remembered for his association with Nashwan and Dayjur–two completely contrasting racehorses.
Willie’s riding performance to hustle Dayjur to the lead from an outside draw in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint was impressive.
Willie was born in Stirling, Scotland and is best known for his determined and energetic riding style, he is a 5 times British Champion Jockey and has won 17 British Classic Races. He is also a well-known television personality, appearing in A Question of Sport from 1982 to 1983, and as co-presenter with Claire Balding on the BBC’s horse racing coverage.
As well as his 5 British Champion Jockey titles (1972, 1973, 1978, 1980 and 1983), Carson has also 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. He is also 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. At five feet tall and riding at a weight of 7 stone 10 pounds, Carson was much in demand as a jockey up to his retirement in 1996 at the age of 54.
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
A varied and far-reaching career, Willie Carson was also chairman of Swindon Town Football Club from 2001 until August 2007 when, following a takeover of the club by Best Holdings SGPS S.A he was replaced by Jim Little. And in November 2010, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by University of Chester.
In November 2011, he took part in the eleventh series of ITV1’s reality television show I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!
He now splits his time commentating for the BBC and is European racing manager for The Thoroughbred Corporation.
One of the most respected figures in horse racing history, Willie Carson is in demand as an after dinner speaker and event host.