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Tuesday, 14 December, 1999, 12:44 GMT
A racing legend retires

dunwoody Jockey Richard Dunwoody with Knight Templar

Click here for Richard Dunwoody's full factfile

In 1983 a Cheltenham crowd witnessed a brilliant young jockey by the name of Richard Dunwoody ride his first winner on a horse called Game Trust.

Sixteen years on that same man became National Hunt racing's most successful ever rider after a loyal Wincanton crowd cheered Dunwoody, who was riding Yorkshire Edition, to his record 1,679th winner.

Dunwoody Dunwoody receives the trophy for his win on Charter Party in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1998
No jump jockey can match the length of time Dunwoody has spent at the top.

When he passed Peter Scudamore's record total with his 100th winner of 1998/9 at Wincanton it was the 10th season running he had reached a century - remarkable in a sport in which injury takes so severe a toll.

His "annus mirabilis" was 1993/4 when a ding-dong battle for the championship with Adrian Maguire went right down to the last meeting on the last day of the season before he triumphed by 197 winners to 195.

He also won the title in 1992/3 and 1994/5.

But racing is much more than a numbers game for Dunwoody, who will be remembered for the quality as well as the quantity of his winners.

Record breaker

He is the only jockey currently riding to have won the three biggest jumps races, thanks to wins on West Tip and Miinnehoma in the Grand National, Charter Party in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Kribensis in the Champion Hurdle.

Indeed, one of the reasons he keeps riding is a desire to "complete the set" with a victory in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

No-one has had a better career than Richard. He has ridden more winners than anyone else - he has done everything.
Peter Scudamore
Dunwoody could be said to have had the perfect pedigree and upbringing for the job.

His father George was a trainer, as was his maternal grandfather Dick Thrale.

He rode out in Newmarket as a schoolboy and after leaving college in Cheltenham served his apprenticeship with former leading jump jockey Paul Kelleway then master trainer Tim Forster.

Dunwoody first hit the headlines with a 1,682-1 four-timer at Hereford in March, 1984.

But it was his association with the Michael Oliver-trained West Tip that put the youngster on the map when he turned professional the following season.

dunwoody Dunwoody dismounts from Yorkshire Edition after breaking the National Hunt win record
He showed great strength to drive the gelding to four straight victories, including the Ritz Club Chase at Cheltenham, and his mount was full of running when falling at second Bechers' in the Grand National.

Dunwoody and West Tip gained compensation at Aintree in 1986 with a two-length victory in the Grand National - a race neither John Francome or Peter Scudamore won.

The following season he succeeded Scudamore as stable-jockey to David Nicholson and he followed in the same rider's footprints when taking over as rider to Martin Pipe in 1993.

Troubled times

Though he has been remarkably free from injury in a terrifyingly dangerous sport, Dunwoody has known troubled times too in the past decade and a half.

A two-week ban for forcing Adrian Maguire through the wings of a hurdle at Nottingham in 1994 forced him to miss the Cheltenham Festival, costing him the winning ride on champion hurdler Flakey Dove.

And the grind of the busy racing schedule appeared to get him very down towards the end of his association with Martin Pipe.

Dunwoody went on to thrive on his freedom to ride as a freelance, picking and choosing the best mounts available and enjoying frequent, successful, visits to Ireland.

But a succession of heavy falls in the last two years started to take their toll until some of the greatest medical minds agreed that the end result of a further accident was too great to be risked.

Dunwoody - factfile

First winner: Game Trust at Cheltenham, May 4, 1983.
1,000th British winner: Flakey Dove, Cheltenham, January 29, 1994.
1,500th British winner: Ashwell Boy, Newton Abbot, October 13, 1997.
1,679th British winner: Yorkshire Edition, Wincanton, April 5, 1999.
First century of winners in a season: 1989/90 - has ridden at least 100 winners in Britain every season since.

Best season: 197 winners in 1993/4.
Champion jockey: 1992/3, 1993/4, 1994/5.
Grand National winners: West Tip 1986, Miinnehoma 1994.
Cheltenham Gold Cup winner: Charter Party 1988.
Champion Hurdle winner: Kribensis 1990.

Other big-race wins: Another Coral (Mackeson Gold Cup), Cache Fleur (Whitbread Gold Cup), Chiefs' Song (William Hill Handicap Hurdle), Desert Orchid (Irish Grand National, King George VI Chase twice), Dorans Pride (Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup), Florida Pearl (Royal & SunAlliance Chase, Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup), Grey Salute (Tote Gold Trophy), Highland Bud (Breeders' Cup Chase, twice), Morley Street (Aintree Hurdle), One Man (King George VI Chase, twice), Paddy's Return (Daily Express Triumph Hurdle), Prideaux Boy (Mecca Bookmakers Hurdle), Riverside Boy (Coral Welsh National), Sound Man (Tingle Creek Chase, Comet Chase), Topsham Bay (Whitbread Gold Cup), Ventana Canyon (Arkle Chase), Very Promising (Mackeson Gold Cup), Von Trappe (Coral Golden Hurdle Final), Waterloo Boy (Arkle Chase, Castleford Chase).

Other information: Rode a 1,682-1 four-timer as a 7lb-claiming amateur at Hereford on March 3, 1984. Has yet to ride a winner at Catterick in Britain and Bellewstown and Wexford in Ireland.

Awarded MBE in June 1993.

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See also:
05 Apr 99 |  Sport
Horse racing record tumbles
06 Nov 99 |  Northern Ireland
Favourite wins NI's top race
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