Swannie Haldane dies, aged 73
Former Scottish trainer and jockey Swannie Haldane has died after a long illness. He was 73 and passed away in a Kelso nursing home where he had been since suffering a stroke last year.
Born and bred in the Borders, Haldane served his apprenticeship with Stewart Wight and then moved on to ride for Ken Oliver. In all he rode around 100 winners in 12 years as a jump jockey before hanging up his saddle in 1972 shortly after Slaves Dream finished a two-length second to Quick Reply in the Scottish Grand National.
Oliver's widow Rhona said: "We are all very sad to hear about Swannie as he was such a character - nothing went on around here that he didn't know about! He rode some good winners for us including Pappageno's Cottage who broke the course record at Cheltenham one New Year's Day in the Fred Withington Chase and they were also a close third in the 1967 Scottish National.
"On another occasion I remember we got Pat Taaffe over to ride Happy Arthur at Haydock and they were brought down at the first. Swannie took over the very next day and they went on to win - he dined out on that story for ages!
"We used to say he broke his leg for fun but he had very brittle bones and drank gallons of milk. Everybody liked Swannie and he will be sorely missed."
Haldane's training career, spread over several yards, started in 1981. The best horses he trained were Border Knight, What A Fiddler and Highlandman, who was runner-up in the 1997 Fox Hunter Chase at Aintree.
He trained 29 winners over jumps, seven on the Flat plus several more in point to points and his final winner under Rules was Camp Hill ridden by Jim Crowley at Carlisle in March 2004.