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


LEGENDARY Geordie trainer Alistair Charlton has died at the age of 89.

The hugely popular Charlton retired in 2007 and handed over his training licence to his son, George, who revealed his dad had passed away in his sleep.


Former trainer Alistair Charlton has died aged 89Credit: In-Focus

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

He also trained the classy Lord Dorcet who finished third behind One Man in the 1998 Champion Chase at Cheltenham.

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

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


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“Our old jockey Jan Faltejsek was in contact and was devastated at the news – he used to sit with my dad after every race he rode in and they’d pick their way through it.

“Horses were my dad’s life. He loved them and got his horsemanship from working on the farm with my grandfather’s carthorses.

“He got his mother to send him to college in Newcastle because on a Wednesday he was able to go flapping down the Eden Valley while all the other kids were at school!

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

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

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But Charlton led just as colourful a life away from the racecourse as on it.

He was famous for wheeling and dealing in the horse market, one year buying eventual Grade 1 winner Tidal Bay for just over £5,000 and selling him on for a whopping £300,000.

And in his younger years, while on National Service in the Korean War, he spoke to a fortune teller in Seoul whose predictions were spookily accurate.

Charlton told the Racing Post: “On a weekend’s leave in Seoul, he saw a fortune teller who said not to worry about getting shot and that he’d train racehorses – which he’d never thought of.

“That he’d have two kids and live until he was 86. He believed it and most of it came true – when he got to 86 he had a quiet year!”

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

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