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Equestrian correspondent and former jockey Brian Giles dies aged 81

  • Brian Giles, the much-loved journalist and former jockey died on his 81st birthday, 22 September.

    Mr Giles was equestrian correspondent and racing editor of the Daily Mail for 42 years. He reported on showjumping and eventing throughout the 1970s, 80s and 90s, when riders such as Harvey Smith and David Broome were household names.

    For many years the Mail was a key sponsor of the All England Showjumping international fixtures at Hickstead; huge blue banners at the showground’s entrance on the A23 urged visitors to “Read Brian Giles in the Daily Mail”, much to his amusement.

    He travelled the world as equestrian correspondent, and was often called on to report on other matters while away – notably at the infamous 1972 Munich Olympics, when 11 Israeli athletes were shot dead in a terrorist attack.

    Although he was a well-known and popular figure on the equestrian circuit, he wasn’t afraid of criticising sport management or riders when he deemed it necessary. Indeed, after one altercation over something he’d written, a top rider was so angry, he tied him to the arena rails at Hickstead with his own tie and he had to be cut free.

    Before becoming a journalist in 1966, Mr Giles worked for The Queen Mother’s trainer Peter Cazalet at Fairlawne in Kent, first as a stable lad and then as a jump jockey. His knowledge of and love of racing meant that he was placed perfectly to work on the racing desk at the Mail. He took over the role of chief tipster Robin Goodfellow at the paper, winning the Racing Post’s prestigious Tipster of the Year title in 1999.

    He is survived by his wife Shirley and daughters Sarah and Philippa.

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