John Gosden Profile
|Born||Mar 30, 1951|
John Gosden has built a reputation as an outstanding trainer of racehorses, with over 3,000 wins to his name including the Epsom Derby and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
Known for his trademark hat, he has put his rivals in the shade with such superlative animals as the wonder-mare Enable, herself a two times Arc winner.
Now training in unison with his son Thaddeus (Thady), the Gosden name will race on for another generation and collect a further glut of Group One prizes.
A pure examination of John Gosden's academic and early work life wouldn't suggest a career in horse racing, having graduated Cambridge University with a degree in economics before going to Venezuela to help create an ill-fated science park as an architect.
However, Gosden's father "Towser" was a trainer of some merit, handling the talented Charlottown as a two-year-old, with the horse going on to win the 1966 Epsom Derby after his retirement.
By his own admission, after the South American sojourn, Gosden was at a loose end and fell into training partly because he fell for his future wife Rachel, who was based near the centre of English Flat racing, Newmarket.
""I tried something else but I came back to the horses and did it for the love of both Rachel and the horses," Gosden told france24.com
Gosden fell on his feet by getting jobs with champion trainers Sir Noel Murless and Vincent O'Brien. Gosden was on hand as O'Brien's assistant trainer when The Minstrel won the 1977 Derby under Lester Piggott.
Yet, like many top trainers, Gosden had a burning ambition to set out on his own and US racing was calling him. Gosden had spent some summers as a youth working at New York yards, so the scene was familiar and he could also rent stables at a cheaper rate than they would be available in England.
He moved to California in the late 1970's with another happy bonus that he could spend more time with his wife, who also moved there for work. Gosden rented three boxes from capable American trainer Willard Proctor and went from strength to strength.
Gosden's standout win in his transatlantic adventure was Royal Heroine in the inaugural 1984 running of the Breeders' Cup Mile.
Back to Britain
In 1989 Gosden took the chance of moving back to the UK to the Stanley House stables in Newmarket, now home to the Godolphin empire.
Stanley House was built by Frederick Stanley, who the ice hockey Stanley Cup was named after but Gosden's early training career was no open-goal slap-shot, he had to work hard to break into the closed world of English racing.
Although he would go onto multi-million pound seasons, Gosden's initial years were about a slog as much as they were about silverware. It wasn't until 1992 that he passed the million pounds mark in prize money for connections.
Mashaalah proved a jet-setting winner in 1992, taking three Group One's overseas in the Gran Premio De Milano, the Grosser Preis Von Baden and the Irish St Leger.
In early 1994, a certain Lanfranco 'Frankie' Dettori began to find himself in the racing results pages next to John Gosden winners.
The Italian's Lockinge Stakes win on another classy US bred animal Emperor Jones cemented a relationship between jockey and trainer that would last till the present day.
1996 would provide another turning point as the classy Gosden needed his first English classic and he got that with Shantou in the Doncaster St Leger. A six horse cavalry charge was eventually split by a beautifully timed ride by Dettori as the Sheikh Mohammed trained horse got up by a neck from Dushyantor.
A year later, Gosden jauntily threw open the door to the big time by winning the 1997 Epsom Derby with Benny The Dip.
Coming round Tattenham Corner, Willie Ryan pushed Benny the Dip ahead with a forceful ride into a four length lead. In a thrilling photo-finish 11/1 shot Benny the Dip just held on from the resurgent Silver Patriarch to prevail by the shortest of short heads.
From Newmarket to Manton
In 1999, Gosden decided to move from one horse racing centre at Newmarket to another at Manton, near Marlborough.
He took over the Sangster family stables previously used by Barry Hills and Peter Chapple-Hyam and almost immediately won a classic by claiming the 1000 Guineas with Lahan.
By 2003, Gosden had a star sprinter on his hands in the form of Oasis Dream who picked up a pair of Group One's over a glorious summer. Oasis Dream's speed was no mirage as he picked up the Darley July Cup at Newmarket and the Nunthorpe Stakes at York before becoming successful at stud and siring the likes of Midday.
During 2005/06, Nannina was proving a decent filly, winning the Group One Meon Valley Stud Fillies' Mile at Newmarket, a town that Gosden had his eyes on a return to.
Back to Newmarket and back in the winners
For a frequent traveller, Gosden was keen to put down roots and he found a long-term home at the Clarehaven Stables in Newmarket. The yard is named after the winner of the 1900 Cesarewitch, after which the horses owner's bought the stables with a hefty wager on its success.
Moving back to Newmarket was a gamble too for Gosden but his propensity to find classy horses such as Raven's Pass stood him in good stead.
The 133 Timeform rated Raven's Pass was second best in three tussles with Henrythenavigator in Summer 2008 but gained his revenge by reversing the placings and winning the Queen Elizabeth II stakes at Ascot. Raven's Pass then flew to Gosden's old stomping ground at Santa Anita and beat Henrythenavigator again in the Breeders' Cup Classic to take a cool prize of Â£1,356,784.
Gosden topped off the decade by taking a trademark overseas win with Pounced in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf under Frankie Dettori. He then opened up 2010 with a lucrative victory in the Dubai Sheema Classic as Dar Re Mi prevailed under the newly retained rider William Buick.
The heavy hitter
The 2010 campaign also saw the first of back-to-back wins in the St Leger with Arctic Cosmos and then Masked Marvel the following year.
By 2011, Gosden had another serious horse on his hands which would shape his destiny in more ways than one. Nathaniel took a slew of quality races including the King Edward VII Stakes and the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot where he outfought the Derby record holder Workforce.
Nathaniel would go on to sire the superstar Enable, adding further chapters to the Gosden chronicles.
The Andrew Llloyd-Webber owned The Fugue was on song in 2012, winning the Musidora Stakes and the Nassau as Gosden continued to pop up with capable horses.
Gosden won his first flat racing Champion Trainer title in 2012, collecting 119 wins and claiming the trophy from Richard Hannon.
The 2014 season brought even more success for Gosden in terms of winners and bloodstock as future top sire Kingman won the Irish 2000 Guineas and the St James's Palace Stakes, adding a few noughts to his stud fee.
Taghrooda meanwhile, carrying the blue and white Al Maktoum colours, won the Epsom Oaks, and the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes nicely before finishing a creditable third in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
Just when you thought it wasn't possible for Gosden to produce any more superlative animals a shimmering talent came along in the form of Golden Horn.
Before October glory in Paris and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, Golden Horn had mapped a stunning route to the French capital by winning the Epsom Derby and the Irish Champion Stakes.
Golden Horn made hay in the 2015 Arc, winning a shade comfortably by two lengths from the French Trained Andre Fabre horse Flintshire.
"I've repeated it many times, but in all my 33 years of riding it is the most emotional feeling I've ever had for a particular race, to the point where I found my body going like jelly, like someone had sapped the energy from me. It was really special" winning jockey Frankie Dettori told racingtv.com, experiencing a renaissance in his faltering career.
Cracksman and Stradivarius
By this point Gosden was laying it on thick with the Group One winners and Cracksman, a son of the freakishly good Frankel, lived up to his name for a trainer of crack performers.
The Oppenheimer owned Cracksman won consecutive Champion Stakes at Ascot and, in between, hauled in an Epsom Coronation Cup in 2017 alongside the Prix Niel at Chantilly.
Then came the relentless galloper Stradivarius, named after the famous violin maker and liable to bring his opponents to a screeching halt. The horse's performances over marathon two-mile trips speaks for themselves, winning the Goodwood Gold Cup a record four times and a trio of Ascot Gold Cups.
Sometimes horses come around that capture a horse racing generation and the wonder mare Enable was one of them. It's not twee to call Enable's story a fairytale as it one of adversity, class and redemption.
During Enable's 19 race career she helped Gosden face up to bigger operations and gave her jockey Frankie Dettori a chance to show he still had it in him at the top level.
The sight of Dettori flashing home in front on Enable in the Khaled Abdulla pink and green silks was a sight to behold and over the course of 2017/18 they did so, an astonishing eleven times in a row at Group One level.
Among the standout wins of Enable's career were the hat-trick of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and a memorable victory in the 2018 Breeders' Cup Turf.
However, Enable was made for Paris-Longchamp and the autumn test of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Her first win at the Arc's temporary home at Chantilly in 2017 came easily enough via a two and half-length win from Cloth Of Stars, the son of the great Sea the Stars.
Gosden's marvellous mare then overcame injury and sickness to win second Arc on the spin by a gutsy short-neck from the William Haggas trained Sea Of Class in 2018.
Enable only just failed on two further occasions to claim an historic third Arc victory, coming second to Waldgeist in 2019 and then sixth to Sottsass in 2020. The mare had lost little in defeat, heading to France as a serious contender on each of her trips across the channel.
Dettori was emotional on the news of Enable's retirement in 2020, telling racingpost.com: "She is the horse that I've loved the most in all my career, she really touched my heart. I did have a cry last night when I was told but more of joy than sadness because of all the great memories she gave me."
Thady Gosden - A new dynasty
As John Gosden approached his 70th birthday it was time to share both his experience and the training workload with his son Thady.
The pair took advantage of the new rules allowing joint licences for the start of the 2021 flat season.
As assistant trainer to his father, Thady had already helped team Gosden to win the Dubai Sheema Classic, the world's richest race, which comes with a prize of over Â£2million.
"Things aren't going to change dramatically. "We'll carry on as we are mostly, but it's good to have it in place for the season coming up." said John Gosden of the father/son combination and it's clear there will be no letup in targeting Group One races with horses of frightening quality.
John Gosden is married to lawyer Rachel Hood. Together they have two sons called Thady and Sebastian and two daughters named Theodora and Serena.
Gosden was awarded the OBE for services to racing in 2016.
Away from racing Gosden enjoys listening to opera and the music of Bob Dylan.
John Gosden News
- Jun 27, 2022
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