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Death of John Winter, aged 70; Trainer of Balidar and Double-U-Jay cared deeply for the welfare of racing.

FORMER Flat trainer John Winter, one of racing's best-loved characters, died in Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, on Wednesday night after a short illness. He was 70.

Winter, two and a half years younger than his brother Fred Winter, trained in Newmarket for 23 years and spent most of his life involved in racing politics and charities.

Among the first to pay tribute to Winter, who leaves a widow, Philippa and three children, were his long-time friend Sir Michael Stoute and William Haggas, who served as his assistant for four years.

Stoute said: "Johnny has not only been a close friend, but he was a thorough gentleman and as unselfish a man as you could ever come into

contact with."

Haggas said: "I don't think anybody who knew John, or even half knew him, had a bad word to say about him. He was just a thoroughly kind, honest, genuine man, who has obviously been a great influence on my life.

"I had some very happy times when I worked for him, I learned a lot and we were friends ever since."

Winter took out a training licence at Highfield Stable on the Bury Road in 1965 following the death of his father, Fred snr.

His best horses included Balidar, winner of the Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp; Folle Rousse, winner of the Prix Robert Papin; Mehari, runner-up in the Ascot Gold Cup and winner of the Prix Kergorlay; Spaniards Mount, winner of the 1967 Wokingham, Realm, winner of the 1971 July Cup, Double-U-Jay, and Showdown.

Stoute added: "He was a fine trainer, as his handling of Balidar, Realm, Double-U-Jay and the temperamental Folle Rousse clearly indicated."

Winter also served as chairman of the Newmarket Trainers' Association, was a trustee of the Injured Jockeys' Fund and a negotiator during the stable lads' strike of the mid-1970s.

He was deeply interested in racing politics and helped found the Bloodstock and Racehorse Industries Confederation (BRIC) in 1973, which was a forerunner of the Horseracing Advisory Council and subsequently the BHB.

After his retirement in 1988, Winter was committed to racing welfare issues and also closely followed Haggas's training career.

Sir John Kemball, chief executive of Racing Welfare Charities, who took over from Winter, said: "We are all very sorry to hear of John's death and remember him as a most kind, compassionate and friendly man."

Recalling that Winter attended a reunion of his former staff at the New Astley Club in Newmarket shortly

before Christmas that drew 90 ex-employees, Kemball commented: "To get a turnout like that just shows how popular he was - I don't think many trainers would be able to get their people back for a reunion in those numbers."

Michael Swinburn, of Genesis Green Stud, who married Winter's

eldest daughter Nicola, said: "He was taken ill during the December Sales and went into hospital with an infection and then he deteriorated."

A private funeral is planned for next week and it is intended to hold a service of thanksgiving to celebrate Winter's life sometime in March.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Author:Greene, Graham (English writer)
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jan 7, 2000
Words:505
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