Guy Walter with jockey Blake Shinn after winning the Doomben Cup last weekend. Walter has died, aged 59. Photo: Tertius PickardThe racing family lost one of its spiritual fathers when trainer Guy Walter died of heart attack at his home on Thursday. He was 59.
The devastating loss of Walter,hit the entire industry with jockeys and trainers closest to him leading the tributes.
“Guy Walter was nature’s kindest gentleman. To be called his stable jockey was an honour. He was like a father to me & I’ll miss him dearly,” tweeted Blake Shinn, who rode Walter’s 36th group 1 winner, Streama, in the Doomben Cup last Saturday.
Hugh Bowman, another jockey who enjoyed success with Walter, tweeted from Hong Kong where he is now riding: “Guy Walter has been one of the most influential people in my career. A gentleman of the turf & we will miss him dearly. #RIP.”
It was clear the man, who was called “a horseman’s horseman” by New Zealand trainer Roger James, was loved and respected within the industry. Walter grew up in Mudgee and his first real taste of racing success was when he strapped Think Big in 1974 for the first of his two Melbourne Cup while working for Bart Cummings, but he was always destine to be a trainer.
He moved to Neville Begg’s stable before moving to the south coast where he started his training career under guidance of Kevin Robinson. He spent five years at Seven Mile Beach before moving to Warwick Farm. “It is just devastating for our whole family,” Robinson’s son Terry said. “He is the same age as me and I don’t know what to say.
“He was like another brother to us and our thoughts are with [wife] Wendy and his family. He wasn’t just a good trainer, he was great man and you wouldn’t meet anyone better.”
Begg said he was left “numb” by the news. “It is unbelievable. He wasn’t just a wonderful trainer but a wonderful man.”
Walter trained his first winner, Irish Eve, at Canterbury in 1980 and it took until 1995 for his first group 1 winner to arrive – Sharscay in the Canterbury Guineas. He will always be remembered with the red colours and white cap of the Tait family and, in particular,Tie The Knot, who won 13 group 1 races and $6 million in prizemoney.
“Devasted [sic] by the loss of Guy Walter. Our hearts go out to Wendy and the family,” Sandy Tait tweeted.
After Tie The Knot, the group 1 winners continued to flow with Spinning Hill, Defier and Republic Lass winning multiple races at the top level, but his crowning moment was the 2005 Doncaster when he trained the trifecta as Patezza beat Court’s In Session and Danni Martine.
In the past couple of years, Walter prepared Streama and Darley-owned Appearance to both win four group 1s.
Walter was one of a few trainers who were trusted with Darley horses outside its main operation.
Darley managing director Henry Plumptre said racing had lost a skilled horseman and he had lost a dear friend.
“When I came out here [from England] in 1977, Guy was one of the first people I met and we have been close friends since,” Plumptre said. “He was a marvellous trainer but just a wonderful, wonderful man.
“It has been very special for Darley to have a horse like Appearance with him because we have usually sent him the bent-legged things, hoping he can work some magic with them.
“Usually they have raced like bent-legged things do. In Appearance he had a mare that showed how great of a trainer he was.”
Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys said: ”Guy was one of the most popular and humble trainers I have ever met. I guarantee you would not find one person with a bad word for Guy; he was a very genuine, kind and respectful person.
“Guy was a man of the highest integrity and professionalism, and a wonderful role model for the racing industry.
“As the mark of the man, when Guy mentored apprentices he would call Racing NSW and insist we do not credit him for the usual 25 per cent of the apprentice’s earnings. He wanted the fee to go back to the apprentice.”
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.