William Fisher Hunter "Willie" Carson, OBE (born 16 November 1942)[1] is a retired jockey in thoroughbred horse racing.

Willie Carson OBE
William Fisher Hunter Carson

(1942-11-16) 16 November 1942 (age 77)
Stirling, Scotland
Carol Spares
(m. 1963; div. 1979)

Elaine Williams 1982 (undated)

Life and careerEdit

Best known as "Willie", Carson was born in Stirling, Scotland in 1942. He was apprenticed to Captain Gerald Armstrong at his stables at Tupgill, North Yorkshire. His first winner in Britain was Pinker's Pond in a seven-furlong apprentice handicap at Catterick Bridge Racecourse on 19 July 1962.

He was British Champion Jockey five times (1972, 1973, 1978, 1980 and 1983), won 17 British Classic Races, and passed 100 winners in a season 23 times for a total of 3,828 wins, making him the fourth most successful jockey in Great Britain.

Willie Carson's best season as a jockey came in 1990 when he rode 187 winners. This included riding six winners at Newcastle Racecourse on 30 June, making Carson one of only four jockeys to ride six winners at one meeting during the 20th century. However, he came second in the 1990 jockeys' championship to Pat Eddery (who rode 209 winners).

Carson had a long association with trainer Major Dick Hern for whom he rode his first three Derby winners. Five feet tall and riding at an easily maintained weight of 7 stone 10 pounds (49 kg) Carson was much in demand as a jockey up to his retirement in 1996 at the age of 54.

In 1980, he took over the Minster House Stud at Ampney Crucis near Cirencester and he and his wife Elaine have developed it into a state of the art stud complex. He is almost certainly the only jockey in the 20th century to have ridden a horse that he bred, Minster Son, to victory in one of the Classic races, the St. Leger Stakes 1988. He and his ex-wife Carol had three sons Anthony, Neil, and Ross.

In 1983, Willie Carson was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for his services to horse racing.[1]

From 1982 to 1983 Carson joined Bill Beaumont as one of the team captains for A Question of Sport. With Clare Balding, Carson co-presented BBC horse racing on BBC1 until the BBC ended their racing coverage at the end of the 2012 season.

He was chairman of Swindon Town FC from 2001 until August 2007 when, following a takeover of the club by Best Holdings SGPS S.A, he was replaced by Jim Little.

In November 2010, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by University of Chester.[2]

In 2011, he came 5th in the eleventh series of ITV1's reality television show I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!.

Major winsEdit





In popular cultureEdit

The British progressive rock band It Bites' song "Once Around The World" (from the album of the same name) contains the lyric "Willie Carson, done for arson, for burning up the track".


  1. ^ a b "Willie Carson, top UK Jockey".
  2. ^ "Stars of sport, entertainment and education honoured". chester.ac.uk. 4 November 2010. Retrieved 9 January 2011.

External linksEdit

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Hamdan Al Maktoum retained jockey
Until 1997
Succeeded by
Richard Hills