Much-loved trainer Alistair Charlton dies aged 89 as ‘devastated’ family and friends remember a huge figure in racing

Much-loved trainer Alistair Charlton dies aged 89 as ‘devastated’ family and friends remember a huge figure in racing

Legendary Geordie coach Alistair Charlton has died aged 89.

The hugely popular Charlton retired in 2007, handing his training license over to his son George, who revealed his father had died in his sleep.


Former coach Alistair Charlton has died aged 89Photo credit: In Focus

Among his best horses was Ida’s Delight, who won the 1989 Castleford Chase in Wetherby.

He also coached the noble Lord Dorcet, who finished third to One Man in the 1998 Champion Chase at Cheltenham.

His death has left his family and friends devastated, with former jockey Jan Faltejsek, who was very close to the Charlton family, taking the news particularly hard.

George Charlton said: “He died in his sleep last Sunday.


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“Our old jockey Jan Faltejsek was in touch and was devastated by the news – he sat with my dad after every race he entered and they found their way.

“Horses were my father’s life. He loved her and acquired his horsemanship by working on the farm with my grandfather’s draft horses.

“He got his mum to send him to college in Newcastle because he could flap around the Eden Valley on a Wednesday while all the other kids were at school!

“Ida’s Delight was his first star in the 1980s. He wasn’t afraid to take on the big boys down south and he won twice at Ascot.

“My father gave Tony McCoy winners when he was just starting out, he won on Lord Dorcet at Sandown and the Queen Mother presented the award so it was quite a day.”

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But Charlton’s life was just as colorful off the track as on it.

He was famous for dealing in the horse market, for a year he bought eventual Class 1 winner Tidal Bay for just over £5,000 and resold him for a whopping £300,000.

And at a young age, while on national service in the Korean War, he spoke to a fortune teller in Seoul whose predictions were frighteningly accurate.

Charlton told the Racing Post: “During a weekend holiday in Seoul, he saw a fortune teller who said not to worry about being shot and that he would train racehorses – something he never thought of.

“That he would have two children and live to the age of 86. He believed it and most of it was true – when he turned 86 he had a quiet year!”

He is also survived by his daughter, Jane Walton, who trains a small line of horses in Northumberland.

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