Sir Michael Stoute Profile

Name Sir Michael Stoute
Born Oct 22, 1945
Age 76 years
Birthplace Barbados
Nationality British

The masterful elder statesman of British racing, Sir Michael Stoute has won the Champion Flat Trainer title on ten occasions and claimed every English classic.

A six times Epsom Derby winner, the Newmarket trainer has also picked up a record number of Royal Ascot winners, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, the St Leger, The Japan Cup twice and four Breeders' Cup turf titles.

His Classics collection also includes the 2000 Guineas five times, the 1000 Guineas twice and the Oaks twice.

The most famous horse he has trained is arguably Shergar, who won The Derby on 1981 and then was kidnapped and never to be seen again.

Early life in Barbados

For such an institution of the British racing scene, Stoute was actually born in Barbados to a family who can trace their history on the Caribbean island back 300 years.

Stoute's father Ronald was the Chief Police Commissioner on Barbados and the Stoute family home backed on to the Garrison Savannah racecourse, meaning a young Michael could peer over the fence for a view of proceedings. 

Initially, Stoute's interest in racing was more media based, getting a job as a racing commentator while helping out at the yard of three times Barbados Derby winning trainer Freddie Thirkell.

It was a media move that brought Stoute to Britain in 1964 as he chased a job as a racing commentator with the BBC. He got down to the final six of a recruitment processes that eventually saw Julian Wilson get the gig.

But Stoute wasn't done with the UK or British racing, and he got a job with Pat Rohan at his North Yorkshire yard.

He spent three years comprehensively learning the job of trainer before moving to Newmarket to assist Douglas Smith and then Tom Jones, for whom he was on hand as assistant when Athens Wood won the 1971 St Leger at Doncaster.

Stoute goes alone as a trainer

Like many assistants-turned trainers, Stoute had the burning ambition to do things his way and by 1972, just seven years after ditching his media dreams, he had secured the Beech Hurst yard at Newmarket to set out solo.

For such a talent, his first winner came predictably quickly with Sandal, owned by his father and a winner at Newmarket in April 1972.

Two major sprint victories gave Stoute's early career a boost as he took both the Stewards' Cup at Goodwood with Alphadamus and the Ayr Gold Cup with Blue Cashmere.

By 1978, Stoute had a significant filly on his hands in Fair Salinia, who won him his first classic with the Epsom Oaks, followed by the Irish Oaks for good measure.

But the Oaks was soon to make way for the big one, the Epsom Derby and bring a fateful horse called Shergar rocketing into Stoute's life.

Shergar Derby win and disappearance

It was a sign of Stoute's burgeoning reputation that he began receiving yearlings from the leading owner and breeder the Aga Khan.

One of the young horses sent to Stoute was a bay colt with a bright white face called Shergar.

Shergar showed promise as a two-year-old but flourished at the age of three, where he filled out considerably in frame and was targeted at the 1981 Epsom Derby.

Shergar won both his prep races for the Derby in fine style, prevailing in the Sandown Classic Trial by 10 lengths and then the Chester Vase by 12 lengths.

The 19-year-old jockey Walter Swinburn rode Shergar on his Derby prep runs and kept the ride on the 10/11 favourite for the Epsom marquee event. Swinburn had Shergar well-placed in third for the climb and then descent round Tattenham Corner.

Swinburn simply switched on Shergar's finishing speed to race clear in the straight and open up a record-breaking ten length advantage.

Sadly, the Derby win proved to be the beginning of the end for Shergar, multiplying his stud potential and leading to his ultimate demise by those looking to exploit that value.

After a further win in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes at Ascot, Shergar was retired to the Ballymany Stud, near the Curragh in Ireland.

On February 8, 1983, Shergar was kidnapped at gunpoint and spirited away from Ballymany Stud.

Negotiations with the kidnappers (believed to be the Provisional I.R.A.) failed and Shergar was never returned.

One theory is that Shergar died or was killed early on in negotiations, but this has never been substantiated, meaning that the horse's demise remains a sad mystery to Stoute to this day.

Building a legacy in the 1980s

Although the Shergar affair was a terrible ordeal for all involved, it was notable that Stoute won his first British Champion Trainer title in 1981 and he was able to bounce back into real success in the '80s.

In 1981, Stoute proved his worth as a trainer of sprinters by winning the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot with Marwell, teaming up successfully with Shergar's jockey Walter Swinburn.

By 1983, Stoute was winning internationally with a victory in Italy's Gran Criterium with Northern Tempest and over in Paris where Royal Heroine took the Prix de l'Opera.

This Bajan trainer was certainly not sticking to Carribean cliches about being laid back and in 1986 was to claim an historic Epsom and Irish Derby double.

Sired by the triple-crown winning Nijinksy, Shahrastani had impeccable breeding and a superlative owner in the Aga Khan and proved to be an able competitor to the great Dancing Brave.

The 2000 Guineas winning Dancing Brave started favourite for the 1986 Epsom Derby but could not catch Stoute's 11/2 shot Shahrastani, who prevailed by half a length.

That winning margin for Shahrastani lengthened to eight lengths in the Irish Derby at the Curragh, securing a brilliant double for Stoute.

Stoute was to have plenty of late 80's success over in Ireland, winning a hat-trick of Irish Oaks victories in succession from 1986 to 1988. The filly Colorspin kicked things off in 1986, Unite then won in 1987 before a dead-heat for Melodist with Stoute's growing rival Henry Cecil brought up the hat-trick.

The late 80's saw Stoute achieve a variety of success, winning his second and third Champion Trainer titles in 1986 and 1989 and he even managed to cross over to National Hunt hunt racing to win the Triumph Hurdle. He also secured the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival for Sheikh Mohammed with Kribensis.

This was a versatile trainer at the top of his game with Stoute's career only going in an upwards trajectory.

Invincible in the '90s

The summer of 1993 proved to be stellar for Stoute as Opera House hit the high notes with a trio of Group One wins.

Opera House's dam was Stoute's Irish Oaks winning Colorspin and the horse won the Coronation Cup at Epsom, Sandown's Eclipse Stakes and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes at Ascot in the space of two months.

Ezzoud also took the International Stakes at York in 1993 for Stoute, following up in the same race in 1994, also adding the Eclipse Stakes for good measure.

Cezanne painted a pretty picture in the Group One Champion Stakes at Leopardstown in September 1994, but Stoute had his eyes on a trans-atlantic prize.

Named after the Polish statesman Jozef Pilsudski, Pilsudski put together an imposing run of form that went from handicaps in 1995 to a second in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in 1996.

The encouraging run in Paris saw Stoute enter Pilsudski and stablemate Singspiel in the Breeders' Cup Turf in October '96.

At the Woodbine track in Canada, Pilsudski stalked Singspiel, with jockey Walter Swinburn attacking from one furlong out and drawing clear for a Stoute one-two in the prestigious North-American Group One.

Singspiel continued the globetrotting with a flight to Japan a month later to contest the Group One Japan Cup.

The colt Singspiel won under Frankie Dettori in Tokyo while Stoute returned a year later in 1997 and won it again with the 134 Timeform rated Pilsudski.

In 1998 Michael Stoute became Sir Michael Stoute with a Knighthood for services to tourism in Barbados.

No let-up in the noughties

Stoute kicked off the year 2000 in fine style with success in the lucrative Dubai Sheema Classic with Fantastic Light.

There was no let-up in domestic success either as stable jockey Kieron Fallon won the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on King's Best, earning Stoute another classic victory.

The Aga Khan provided Stoute with yet another classy animal in Kalanisi and the horse hit form in late 2000 with a win in the Champion Stakes at Newmarket before flying to the USA to take the Breeders' Cup Turf at Churchill Downs under Johnny Murtagh.

Stoute's colt Golan won the 2000 Guineas in May 2001 before going on to Ascot to win the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes in 2002.

By 2003, Stoute had another serious Derby contender on his hands in Kris Kin.

The 6/1 shot Kris Kin had 11/4 Dermot Weld favourite Refuse To Bend to contend with but found Aidan O'Brien's The Great Gatsby the toughest opponent at Epsom.

Yet, Kris Kin finished like a train under Fallon for a one length victory, writing Stoute into the history books with a third Epsom Derby win.

Stoute being Stoute came back the next year and won the Derby again with North Light as his position as a class-act in British racing was rubber-stamped.

His ability to bring horses on was epitomised by the handling of Notnowcato who went from finishing seventh in a class 2 handicap at Goodwood to picking up three Group One races in the space of two years.

The hardy Notnowcato won the international Stakes at York, The Tatersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh and the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown and proved to be a horse that would just not know when he was beaten, much like his enduring trainer.

Conduit proved a staggeringly good runner for a horse that won a maiden on the all-weather at Wolverhampton.

Sired by the successful Dalakhani, the well-bred Conduit went on to earn over three and half million pounds in prize money, winning the Breeders' Cup Turf two years in a row at Santa Anita under Ryan Moore.

Stoute capped the decade with a tenth Champion Trainer title, sending a note of intent to his rivals that he wasn't about to ease off with the Group One stunners.

Workforce record derby win and continued success

Anyone expecting Sir Michael Stoute to retire in his sixties to the Caribbean were to be sorely mistaken as the trainer shook the racing world in 2010 with a clock-shattering win in the Epsom Derby.

Workforce showed he was no work horse at Epsom with a staggering victory in the Derby which stunned observers with a searingly fast record time of 2.31.33.

100/1 Ballydoyle chance At First Sight could only trail in second, a full seven lengths behind Workforce while Sir Henry Cecil's Bullet Train arrived after a delay in twelfth place.

Workforce went on to win the Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe in October 2010 as Stoute's stranglehold over the landmark middle-distance events tightened.

At a Timeform rated 133, Workforce was not even the highest rated Stoute horse that season with Harbinger stealing a march and securing a lofty rating of 140.

Harbinger went unbeaten in the Summer of 2010 winning the Hardwicke Stakes at Ascot before returning in July to blitz the field with an 11-length success in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

Stoute showed his nurturing of the top owners by winning the Ascot Gold Cup with the Queen's filly Estimate in 2013.

He then popped over to Arlington Park in August 2013 to show his international runners he had a bright future as Dank won the Beverly D Stakes at Arlington Park for a cool purse of £267,791.

The 2014 and 2015 seasons had Stoute target more North American success, this time in Canada where Hillstar won the Canadian International Stakes under Ryan Moore with the jockey winning the race again the year after on Cannock Chase for Stoute.

Stoute reinforced his record as the top British trainer at the Breeders' Cup by scooping the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Santa Anita with Queen's Trust, assigning Frankie Dettori to the Cheveley Park Stud runner.

Ulysses showed he had the scope of the James Joyce novel he was named after by winning the 2017 Eclipse Stakes at Sandown for Stoute and then following up in the International Stakes at York.

As the clock ticked towards the 2020's and Stoute entered his seventies, the Group One wins started to become more sparse. But in November 2018 he proved his expertise in the Breeders' Cup by winning the Breeders' Cup Mile with Expert Eye, using the tried and tested US performer Dettori.

That Dettori combination continued in 2019 when the Italian rode Crystal Ocean to the win in the Prince Of Wales's Stakes, showing that Royal Ascot was nothing without this elder statesman of British racing.

Sir Michael Stoute into the 2020's

For a trainer presumed to be slowing down, Stoute showed he still knew how to train quick horses with victory in the Haydock Sprint Cup in September 2020.

Dream of Dreams beat another sprint specialist Archie Watson's Glen Shiel for an emotional victory for owner Saeed Suhail, whose King's Best was trained to 2000 Guineas victory as far back as 2000 by Stoute.

The rapid Dream of Dreams showed that Stoute was by no means done at Royal Ascot by winning the 2021 Diamond Jubilee Stakes under Ryan Moore with Glen Shiel again in second place.

Dream of Dreams had finished second in the marquee Ascot sprint twice in a row in 2020 and 2019 but like his trainer, showed that class and perseverance pays off.

In 2022, Sir Michael claimed his sixth Derby win with Desert Crown. Ridden by Richard Kingscote the 5/2 favourite stormed to a comfortable a two-and-a-half-length victory from 150/1 outsider Hoo Ya Mal.

He also claimed his third Champion Stakes crown in the same year with 10/1 outsider Bay Bridge, who inflicted the only defeat of superstar horse Baaeed's short career.

Personal life

Sir Michael Stoute long-time partner Coral Pritchard-Gordon sadly died in 2020 after a long illness.

Stoute has two children, a daughter called Caroline and a son called Robert.

Away from racing, Stoute is an avid cricket fan after growing up on the hotbed of leather and willow in Barbados. He is an old friend of the West Indies cricket legend Michael Holding.

Stoute was awarded a Knight Bachelor in 1998, not for services to racing but for services to tourism in his native Barbados.

Net worth

Sir Michael Stout's net worth is believed to be £15million.

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