Peter Walwyn, who has died at 84, was a giant of the turf – a champion racehorse trainer inextricably linked with the village of Lambourn, which he helped to turn into one of the country’s major training centres.
Indeed, he was responsible for the signs that read ‘Lambourn - Valley of the Racehorse’, as seen by drivers as they enter the village.
Walwyn is likely to be best remembered for his handling of the brilliant Grundy. Having won the Irish 2000 Guineas and Derby as well as the Derby at Epsom in 1975, he went on to defeat Bustino in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot, a race widely regarded as the best of the century.
Grundy’s era coincided with Walwyn’s best years – he was champion trainer in 1974 and 1975.
Other major races which went his way included the Oaks with Polygamy in 1974 and the 100 Guineas in 1970 with Humble Duty.
Walwyn had taken out his own licence in 1960 and in 1965 moved to Seven Barrows, currently the home of the champion trainer Nicky Henderson.
He became chairman of the Lambourn Trainers Association in 1989 before retiring from training in 1999 and was appointed an honorary member of the Jockey Club. He was also awarded an MBE by the Queen in 2012 for his services to horse racing.
The current chairman of the LTA, Merrick Francis, once a trainer himself and son of the former jockey and author Dick Francis, said: “He’s been ‘Mr Lambourn’ all his life, really.
“Basically he formed the association many years ago and it is thanks to him that we have what we have today. Even at the very end he was ringing me up and checking I was doing things properly.”