John Gosden - Under Starters Orders

Features | 7th October 2020

John Gosden is one of the world’s leading trainers, saddling more than 2,000 winners in Britain and 600 in the United States. More than a hundred of those have been at Group 1 or Grade 1 level.

He was recently awarded an OBE in recognition of his services to horseracing.

Name: John Gosden 

Date of Birth: 30 March 1951

Career highlight: His record setting association with champion race mare Enable 

Interesting Fact: John Gosden began his career in the USA obtaining his American Horse Training license in 1979.

Having been born into a prominent racing family, John Gosden excelled academically away from the racecourse; eventually earning himself a place at Cambridge University. One of the sport’s great thinkers, there are many who’ve suggested a career in law, finance or even politics would have come naturally to him. 

Gosden however never considered doing anything else – training racehorses, he says, was “in the blood”.

He began his horse racing career as an assistant to two of the most successful trainers in the 20th century, legendary Irish trainer Vincent O’Brien and Newmarket supremo Sir Noel Murless. 

During that time, he was part of two stables that won a huge number of prestigious races including the Derby, the Oaks and St Leger Stakes.

Getting To Know John Gosden

He then moved to California in search of his own success, obtaining his American Horse Training license in 1979. He began training just three horses, renting single boxes as he could not afford to rent his own stable.

 In 1983, he was to have his first big winner, Bates Motel. The horse that John Gosden described as his first big break in the sport. 

In 1989 he returned to the the U.K. and quickly made a big impression on the British Horse Racing scene. Throughout the 1990s, Gosden formed a successful partnership with a young Frankie Dettori, the pair winning hundreds of races together. 

His upward trajectory accelerated in 1996 as Dettori rode him a first British classic winner in the St Leger aboard Shantou. He followed that up in 1997, winning the prestigious Investec Derby with Benny The Dip.

From that point to the present day he has continued to shape his legacy as one of the greatest British trainers of the post-war era. 

He has won swathes Group 1’s both in Britain and abroad, he has been crowned British Flat Racing Champion Trainer 4 times and his trained some of the greatest horses of modern times.

Kingman, Golden Horn, Enable and Roaring Lion all come to mind as winners of the Cartier Horse Of The Year Award and for their numerous achievements within the QIPCO British Champions Series.

Enable: The Worlds Best

His dedication and contribution to both the sport and the industry have not gone unnoticed. In 2017 Gosden was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the New Year Honours for services to horseracing and training.