ALAN SWINBANK, one of North Yorkshire’s most popular and successful racehorse trainers, has died suddenly at the age of 72.

Based in Melsonby, close to Richmond, Swinbank trained almost 800 winners in a career that began when he saddled point-to-point runners in the 1970s.

He switched his attention to the flat and jumps, achieving regular success as a dual-purpose trainer, and enjoyed a host of notable victories over the course of almost two decades.

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His greatest triumphs came with the hugely-popular Collier Hill, who was a Group One winner on three different continents.

Collier Hill landed the Irish St Leger in 2005, before claiming the Pattison Canadian International and Hong Kong Vase the following season. He also placed in the Group One Dubai Sheema Classic in 2005 and 2006.

News of Swinbank’s death has prompted a host of tributes from prominent figures within the racing community.

Niall Hannitty, a former jockey and assistant trainer and now horseracing correspondent for the Darlington & Stockton Times, tweeted: “Sad to hear of the sudden death of trainer Alan Swinbank, may he rest in peace.”

Former champion jockey Jonjo O’Neill added: “Very sad to hear Alan Swinbank has died. A good friend and brilliant trainer. His family are in our thoughts.”