Tuesday, 1 September 2020

Michael Stoute

Michael Stoute
Sir Michael Stoute is a Barbadian, British thoroughbred horse trainer who has achieved incredible success over his five-decade career. Stoute is widely considered one of the best trainers in horse-racing, winning in all five British classic races - the 2,000 Guineas Stakes, 1.000 Guineas Stakes, Epsom Oaks, Epson Derby and St. Leger Stakes. 

At 19 he moved to the UK to become an apprentice to trainer Pat Rohan, establishing his own stable in 1972. He was the only trainer of the 20th century to win a Classic in five successive seasons and was named Champion trainer 10 times between 1981 and 2009. Stoute's success continued overseas with victories in Ireland, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, the United States and the United Arab Emirates. 

His most famous horse was Shergar who won the 1981 Epsom Cup by a record 10 lengths. The horse was stolen from a yard in County Kildare, Ireland in 1983 with kidnappers settling a ransom of £2 million. At the time Shergar's value was set at £10 million and despite a nationwide search was never found. One theory was the IRA had stolen him. 

In, 2009 Stoute became the first trainer to finish with a clean sweep of places in Ascot's King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes with Conduit, Tartan Bearer and Ask. He had further success at Ascot in 2013 training the Queen's Gold Cup winner, Estimate.

He currently trains at Freemason Lodge Stables and at Beech Hurst Stables, both in Newmarket.

Wednesday, 19 August 2020

Native River

Native River
Owned by Garth and Anne Broom, under the banner of Brocade Racing, and trained by Colin Tizzard in Milborne Port, Dorset is a bay gelding, by Indian River out of a Be My Native, best known for winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2018. Having finished third, beaten 2¾ lengths and a short head by Sizing Europe and Minella Rocco, in the Cheltenham showpiece in 2017, Native River was involved in an epic duel with Might Bite in 2018, eventually outstaying his main market rival in the last half-a-furlong or so to win by 4½ lengths, with 33/1 outsider Anable Fly a further 4 lengths away in third. In so doing, Native River gave trainer Colin Tizzard his first winner in the race.

Immediately after the race, Tizzard said, “It was unreal, wasn’t it? To win the Cheltenham Gold Cup means everything to everyone’s life. Let's not pretend it’s not,” adding, “We’ve had a wonderful preparation and you think something could go wrong in the race, but it didn’t.”

Unlike in 2017, when the Cheltenham Gold Cup was something of an afterthought after victories in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury, the Coral Welsh National at Chepstow and Betfair Denman Chase, also at Newbury, Native River was trained with the “Blue Riband” event as his only major target of the season in 2018. En route, he did win the Betfair Denman Chase for second year running, jumping well for a ready 12-length win over Cloudy Dreams.

In winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Native River achieved a Timeform rating of 172, still 10lb inferior to that achieved by his stable companion Cue Card in his heyday, but he is still only eight years old and remains relatively lightly raced, so it remains to be seen where he ends up in the hierarchy of staying chasers since World War II. Currently 8/1 third favourite, behind Presenting Percy and Might Bite, for the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2019, Native River has stamina in abundance, but isn’t, necessarily an out-and-out mudlark so, barring accidents, looks one to keep on the right side wherever he goes.

Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Frankie Dettori

Frankie Dettori
Lanfranco Dettori was born in Milan, Italy on the 15th December 1970 and has a dazzling record in the sport of flat horse racing, winning pretty much everything there is to win. Thanks to his stellar record of wins, Dettori has become something of a TV personality and will be most remembered by the wider racing public as the jockey that managed to achieved 7 winners in the same Champions day at Ascot in 1996. The combined odds of the seven winners worked out at 25,051-1, earning one lucky punter £500,000 on the day.

Career Success

Dettori has won so many major races on the flat it would take too long to list them all here, but since the age of 12, the jockey has had ‘the bug’, something he shares with his son Rocco, who himself is just 13 years of age.

He began his career in the Britain in 1985 under the stewardship of Luca Cumani, who took on the young Frankie as a stable jockey. His first senior win in Britain was in 1987 and he has since gone on to achieve more than 3,000 wins in an amazing career.

Near Miss

Dettori had a lucky escape in 2000 when the light aircraft he was travelling in crashed near Newmarket. A crash that the authorities admitted he was lucky to walk away from. Despite this, the wins kept coming and by 2007, the only British Classic win not in the jockey’s back pocket was the Epsom Derby. Frankie redressed the balance however, romping home later that year on Authorized to claim the prize that had eluded him for so long.


After admitting to substance abuse to keep down his weight on BBC’s Newsnight in 2010 and then failing a drugs test in 2012 after having been found to have used cocaine, there followed an acrimonious parting of the ways with the Godolphin stable. After serving a 6 month ban and a brief period as a freelancer, he joined the Stable of Sheikh Joaan Al Thani for whom he continues to regularly ride winners.

When Frankie Dettori does eventually hang up his whip and jockey’s uniform, the sport will be poorer for it and his trademark jumping dismount will be sadly missed.

Friday, 19 June 2020

Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson
Born on July 21st 1977 in Hereford, Richard Johnson is an English jockey who rides on the National Hunt circuit and who very much has racing in his family, as the son of successful trainer, Sue Johnson and a father who spent many years as an amateur jockey.

Great Start

By the age of 18, in 1996, Johnson had claimed the title of Champion ‘Conditional’ Jockey, which refers to a rule by which a jockey with less than 20 winners to his or her name can claim extra weight. His first ‘under rules’ National Hunt winner was in 1994 on Rusty Bridge at Hereford Racecourse.

Cheltenham Festival

Over the last 20 years, Richard Johnson has enjoyed great success at Cheltenham winning numerous major races there, something that led to him being named the top jockey at the 2002 festival. He is one of just 3 jockeys to have won all 4 of the champion races at Cheltenham and has won there as recently as 2018, when claimed the prestigious Gold Cup on the Colin Tizzard horse, Native River.

There is still much to come from Richard Johnson, with the jockey already having passed 3,000 winners in Britain already. He still harbours hopes of winning the Grand National, something that he has not managed in 20 attempts to date, which at time of writing, is the joint highest number of races competed in and unfortunately for him, the most races competed in without a winner. He came close twice, coming second on Whatsupboys in 2002 and Balthazar King in 2014, but has yet to cross the line first.

Luckily for him, he still has lots and lots of time to put the record straight, and with a winning record like his, you’d be foolish to bet against him doing so.