Monday 15 January 2018

John Gosden: An Embarrassment of Riches

John Gosden OBE has been ensconced at Clarehaven Stables on Bury Road, Newmarket since 2006, but his career as a racehorse trainer, which stretches back to 1979, has taken him all over the world. He started as assistant to Vincent O’Brien, then Sir Noel Murless, then Tommy Doyle and has previously trained, in his own right, in California, in Manton, Wiltshire and at Stanley House Stables, a.k.a. Godolphin Stables, in Newmarket.

Gosden, 66, has trained over 3,000 winners worldwide, including over 600 winners in the United States, but said, in 2013, “I am done with roaming. This house has been very lucky. We have built the business up, done well and last year was my most successful year.”

Indeed, in 2012 Gosden won the Flat Trainers’ Championship for the first time, amassing £3.7 million in prize money, courtesy of horses such as The Fugue, winner of the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood, and Nathaniel, winner of the Coral-Eclipse. He won it again in 2015, thanks in large part to the exploits of Cartier Horse of the Year Golden Horn, who won the Derby, the Coral-Eclipse, the Irish Champion Stakes and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe before finishing second, beaten half a length, in the Breeders’ Cup Turf on his final start.

Although unable to match the performance of Aidan O’Brien – who saddled a world record 27 Group 1 winners in a calendar year – in 2017, Gosden was fortunate to train another Cartier Horse of the Year, Enable, and the Cartier Champion 3-Year-Old Colt, Cracksman, in the same season. The former, who is a daughter of Nathaniel, won all five starts at Group 1 level, including the Oaks and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, while the latter won the Great Voltigeur Stakes and the Prix Niel before an impressive 7-length win in the Champion Stakes on his final start of the season. In so doing, he became the first Group 1 winner sired by Frankel.

Both Enable – who is rated just 2lb inferior to some of the best fillies since World War II by Timeform – and Cracksman remain in training in 2018, so jockey Frankie Dettori, who rode both horses last season, will inevitably have the unenviable task of choosing between them. One thing is certain, though; ‘Johnny G’, as Matt Chapman fatefully called John Gosden during the Oaks presentation, has plenty to look forward to in 2018.

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