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Last Updated:  Saturday, 5 April, 2003, 14:19 GMT 15:19 UK
Swan calls it a day
Charlie Swan aboard Like-A-Butterfly
Swan's last ride will be on Like-A-Butterfly at Aintree
Leading jockey Charlie Swan has retired from race-riding.

The Irishman was unplaced in his final ride on Like-A-Butterfly in the Martell Cognac Aintree Hurdle on Saturday.

In his only other ride of the day, Swan took a tumble on Take Flite in the opening race.

The 35-year-old revealed that he would retire after winning on 16-1 shot Patriot Games in the Handicap Hurdle at Aintree on Friday.

The victory formed part of a treble for owner JP McManus, and Swan chose Like-A-Butterfly as his last ride because of his long-standing association with the trainer.

McManus also owned Istabraq, whom Swan rode to three Champion Hurdle wins to establish himself as part of Cheltenham folklore.

Swan had already scaled down his racing commitments by no longer opting to tackle the bigger, fixed obstacles.

Swan was the dominant rider in Irish racing for a decade, clocking up more National Hunt winners in his homeland than any other jockey.

He won his first Irish jockeys' championship in 1990 and retained the title up to and including the 1997-98 season.

But it was across the Irish Sea at the prestigious Cheltenham Festival that Swan secured his place in racing history.

Swan has guided home 17 winners at the famous Gloucestershire circuit and he is a double winner of the top jockey award.

The 35-year-old's finest hour was when he led Istabraq to his third successive victory in the Champion Hurdle in 1999.

Charlie Swan and Istabraq
Swan led Istabraq to three successive wins at Cheltenham
Many believe that if it was not for the cancellation of the 2001 Cheltenham festival because of foot-and-mouth disease, Istabraq would have become the first horse to win four Champion Hurdles.

The fairytale ended in 2002 when Swan was forced to pull up Istabraq in his last attempt to break the Cheltenham record after two flights.

Swan will still be a regular face in the parade win as he will now concentrate on building up his own stable in Tipperary.

Taking over training duties from his father, Swan has around 50 horses under his management, including ones owned by JP McManus.

He has already won the 2002 Cork Grand National and the Tote Eider National at Newcastle with This Is Serious as well as riding to victory on his charge Patriot Games at Aintree.

Links to more Grand National 2003 stories


Charlie's swansong
06 Mar 03  |  Horse Racing

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