Dual-purpose trainer Alan Swinbank, who may be best remembered for his top-level success with Collier Hill, has died suddenly at the age of 72.
Swinbank took out a trainers’ licence back in 2001 and subsequently went on to net over 780 winners, the majority of which came on the Flat.
Arguably his most distinguished performer was Collier Hill, a son of Dr Devious. Bred by well-known owner-breeder George Strawbridge, he went on to win 15 races for Swinbank three of which came at Group 1 level.
Under regular rider Dean McKeown, the first of those high-profile triumphs came in the 2005 Irish St Leger where he had Vinnie Roe and Yeats behind him.
He was then sent to Canada and Hong Kong to collect his other two valuable prizes.
Ben Curtis, who developed a fine association with the handler since moving from Ireland, said: “I am shocked and devastated to hear the passing of Alan Swinbank.
“We had some great days together, 50 plus winners, 300 plus rides. I will be forever grateful to him for supporting me when I first arrived in the UK.
“Condolences to Sally, family and the team at Western House Stables. Rest In Peace Swinny.”
As well as winning the likes of the Cambridgeshire Handicap with Formal Decree in 2006, Swinbank proved adept at saddling winners in the National Hunt sphere.
He guided the talented mare Turbo Linn to five-straight wins in bumpers before being switched back to the Flat to take the Group 2 Lancashire Oaks under Neil Callan.
He used to tell folk we were at school together
The scopey Alfie Flits gave one of the yard’s biggest supporters, Mrs J Porter, a notable success when running away with the Grade 2 Rossington Main Novices’ Hurdle.
Swinbank’s best season came in 2010 where he recorded 27 winners over jumps and 52 on the Flat.
On twitter, fellow trainer Ralph Beckett, said: “RIP Alan Swinbank. Did the trainers course with him, and from then on he used to tell folk we were at school together.”