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Last Updated: Monday, 5 April, 2004, 11:42 GMT 12:42 UK
Racing mourns Winter
Fred Winter after winning the 1957 Grand National on Sundew
Winter and Sundew after their 1957 Grand National triumph
Fred Winter, one of the greats of National Hunt racing, has died aged 77.

"He went into hospital on Thursday night and died in the early hours of this morning," said his friend and former stable jockey Richard Pitman.

Winter was champion jump jockey four times and top trainer on eight occasions.

He is the only man ever to have won the Grand National, the Champion Hurdle and the Gold Cup as both a trainer and a jockey.

In fact, Winter won the Grand National twice as both jockey and trainer while winning the Gold Cup twice as a jockey.

As for the Champion Hurdle, he won that a staggering three times as a trainer and four times as a jockey.

He rode 923 winners and was champion jockey four times.

Winter won eight championships as a trainer, including five in a row between 1971 and 1975. He suffered a stroke 16 years ago and been in a wheelchair ever since.

Richard Pitman
He was a great man to me and he was my hero
Richard Pitman on Fred Winter

Pitman, a member of the BBC Television racing team, joined Winter as a stable lad in 1964.

He said: "He was the same in victory and defeat, and that takes a great man.

When he took me on he said 'You'll never be champion jockey, but horses jump fences well for you and you're honest and they are the two things that I require'.

"We had a lot of big winners together but he also accepted defeat because he had chosen me for my honesty and jumping ability rather than my outstanding jockeyship.

"So when we were beaten, on Pendil and Crisp, he hugged me as I dismounted and said 'Well done Richard, you've done your best', exactly the same as he did in 1974 after Lanzarote won the Champion Hurdle.

"It was great to have worked for your hero because we normally admire people from afar."

Winter is survived by his wife Diana and three daughters, Joanna and Denise, who are twins, and Philippa.

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