Trainers & Jockeys Turf 2018


There will be a few familiar Jockey names missing from race cards this year with Martin Lane the 2010 champion apprentice jockey retired along with George Baker who has been forced to retire due to injury. Classic winning Ted Durcan also announced his retirement after 25-years in the saddle. Champion jockey of Dubai several times his two Classic triumphs came on Light Shift for Sir Henry Cecil in the Oaks at Epsom in 2007 and the St Leger at Doncaster on Mastery for Godolphin and Saeed bin Suroor in 2009. Steve Drowne has also hung-up his riding boots and taken up a position as a stipendiary steward for the British Horseracing Authority. Another who will be missing is Tom Queally who spent the winter riding in California and has now I read relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area and will continue to ride on the other side of the pond.  

Of those that will be riding reigning Champion Jockey Silvestre De Sousa is back again and odds-on to retain the title. Also back for more is second placed (2016 Champ) Jim Crowley. Daniel Tudhope had a cracking 2017 finishing fourth in the jockey table on 93 winners and will be steering home winners again for David O’Meara and others. The agent who has helped make Ryan Moore, Richard Hughes and Jim Crowley champions Tony Hind will be booking rides for Andrea Atzeni for the coming season. Atzeni, who finished tenth in the 2017 championship, stressed switching to Hind would have no impact on his retainer with leading owner Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum or his relationship with trainer Roger Varian but did say "It's always been at the back of my mind and I'd love to be champion.”

Over at Godolphin William Buick will be getting the leg-up from Charlie Appleby still in the Godolphin blue and they have some very exciting sorts to go to work with over the coming months that I have touched upon in other columns. With the horses Appleby has Buick should be in for a great season. Saeed bin Suroor will be sticking with his policy of choosing the jockey he believes best suits individual horses as he did last season meaning James Doyle has been settling in nicely to his new role as Godolphin's Australian jockey for most of the winter. That said he has been riding some for Appleby in Dubai whilst Richard Hannon and Richard Fahey have both made use of his services at Meydan no doubt we will see him during the summer. Reportedly he has an agreement with William Haggas to ride for the yard, no doubt he will boot one or two home at the big meetings as the Aussie season goes quiet.

It is easy to forget that Oisin Murphy is still only 22 years of age having ridden well over 400 winners already at the start of 2018 with 25 Group and Listed wins to his name. He will have a few nice ones to ride, including Roaring Lion, for Sheikh Fahad Al Thani under the Qatar Racing banner. He is a jockey many have tipped for the top and he continues to climb the ladder and improve; he is a class act. 

Frankie Dettori signed a new retainer with Al Shaqab Racing for 2018 and will once again be hoping to perform a few flying dismount or two over the coming months now the much reported financial review and reorganisation of Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani’s Al Shaqab Racing has been finalised. I would expect them to aim a few good’uns at the big meetings for him to ride.

Adam Kirby has been booting home the winners with regularity as usual through the winter months on the all-weather but has found himself a little further down the ARC All-Weather Championship than usual with Luke Morris and Patrick ‘PJ’ McDonald to name jusy two that have been riding very very well over winter. Yorkshire-based PJ may have taken a while to get to the top, he is 35, but he is up there now having finished 6th in last years Championship and is worth keeping an eye on. Martin Harley has been riding at a 20%+ strike-rate on the synthetics as is another that starts 2018 Turf season in good heart.

Ryan Moore has yet again been off around the globe mopping up races, as he does, including the Longines Hong Kong Vase to name but one. He won’t be chasing the Championship but he will be booting home plenty of winners again over the coming months for the boys from Ballydoyle as well as old friends such as Sir Michael Stoute. He finished third is last years table without even trying which tells you all you need to know. Arguably the best jockey rising anyway in the world right now. 

Tom Marquand has been booting home the winners for Godolphin amongst others over the winter months and the youngster is held in high regard by his boss Richard Hannon. Champion Apprentice Jockey in 2015 he landed his first Group 1 winner in 2017 and is a jockey very much on the up. He will no doubt be looking to break the 100 winners’ barrier in 2018. Talking of youngsters on the up Champion Apprentice of 2016 Josephine Gordon became only the second female jockey to reach 100 winners in a calendar year in 2017 and is another one to watch over the coming months; she is another young gun that Godolphin put up from time to time. And a third young’un would be the twenty-year-old apprentice George Wood who accepted an invitation to join those guys Godolphin and trainer Charlie Appleby in Dubai for the winter. He has been with James Fanshawe and it will be interesting to see what he does in 2018 as he is only a handful of winners away from losing his 3lb claim.


Aidan O’Brien will have to go some to beat last years exploits when he eclipsed Bobby Frankel's record for 25 Group/Grade 1 winners in a season when reaching 28 top level winners when Highland Reel won the Hong Kong Vase in December. He topped the Trainers list here in the UK last season with 32 winners from 165 runners for a total of £8.3million in prize money. The likes of Highland Reel and Churchill may be off to the breeding barns but Order Of St George has stayed in training as well as the versatile now four-year-old filly Hydrangea and as for the Classics Saxon Warrior and Magical can be found at the head of their respective Guineas markets to name but two potential 3yo stars down at Ballydoyle, Co. Tipperary. He is once again odds-on as I write to be crowned Champion Trainer and understandably so.

My Dirty Dozen is littered with Godolphin horses and the main trainers Charlie Appleby and Saeed bin Suroor have some very nice types to go racing with over the coming months. I am convinced this is going to be a huge season for Appleby with sprinter Blue Point and the likes of Wuheida and Emotionless having stayed in training. Add to that the 3YO’s Ghaiyyath, Masar and Key Victory to name but a few and many a trainer will be looking at his string with envious eyes. Not to be out done Saeed bin Suroor has UAE 1000 Guineas winner Winter Lightning and a triple G favourite Thunder Snow, winner of round two of the G.2 Al Maktoum Challenge, to plot summer campaigns for.

John Gosden has Roaring Lion to go to war with this season letting him dream again of Classic glory and you can expect plenty of winners to come out of Clarehaven Stables down the Bury Road this year. Having been made an OBE in March 2017 he is now going to train for the Queen (gawd bless her) for the first time with her racing manager, John Warren, confirming in January "John will be training two Darley-bred yearlings for Her Majesty."

Richard Hannon doesn’t look to have a standout star three-year-old this year, Tajaanus is around 33’s for the 1000 Guineas, but he has one of the best set-ups in the country down at his Herridge Racing Stables and he won’t be far away from the top of the Trainers table come the end of the season.  

King of the numbers Mark Johnston has been racking up the winners over the winter months with plenty of his out and about (as is usual) and though his strike-rate is never outstanding you know he will be aiming for the 200+ winner mark again something he has achieved in seven of the last ten years including banging in 215 last season. Johnston topped the charts in terms of races won for the 11th time in 2017 and will be there or thereabouts again in 2018. With Elarqam (2000 Guineas) and Threading (1000 Guineas) he has a couple of live Classic chances as well. Another one who loves a winner is Richard Fahey and he of course equalled the record for 235 winners in a calendar year back in 2015. 2016 was unlikely to live up to those standards and he ended on 198. He was back in the double-century club last season on the final day of the year at Lingfield finishing 2017 on 200 winners exactly. He is lacking anything of the class of Ribchester this season so big race wins may be harder to come by but you will see him in the Winners Enclosure a lot, you can bet on that. 

Owen Burrows is without Massaat, his flagbearer from last season, for the foreseeable future, and Talaayeb who has been retired but the Lambourn handler has a number of horses to look forward to running over the coming months none the less. Quloob notched a hat-trick of wins last year and may have more to come yet and four-year-old Laraaib could nick a decent prize for the yard having ended last season finishing third in a Group Three at Haydock. Talking at the start of the 2018 Turf campaign the trainer said He said: "Shabaaby ended up being my top-rated two-year-old on 107. There is the Pavilion Stakes over six for him or we might look at starting in the Listed race at Newbury on Lockinge weekend.”

Down at Kremlin Cottage Stables Hugo Palmer continues to go from strength to strength having started out in only 2011 with 11 horses in the yard. He sent out 77 winners in 2017 continuing his trend of increasing his number of winners each year since 2011 and will no doubt be hoping to continue the trend in 2018. Fajjaj looks the best of the Classic generation and the colt s around 33-1 for the 2,000 Guineas. Of the older horses in his care Gifted Master won a couple of Listed heats last season and will be aimed at some decent prizes in the summer. Sir Michael Stoute had a decent if not spectacular 2017 but is still a force to be reckoned with when he has a good one. Expert Eye certainly looked good at Goodwood and if being able to reproduce that sort of performance at three is a potential star in the making. Older horses such as Mori and Smart Call will no doubt be aimed at some big prices over the coming months.

Down at Somerville Lodge William Haggas will be looking to continue the trend since 2010 where he has increased the number of winners he has saddled each year having achieved 158 in 2017. The filly Beshaayir might prove to be his best three-year-old whilst the likes of Addeybb will be aimed at some big sprints as surely will Tasleet.

The Martyn Meade string have reportedly settled in well following the move to Manton, Meade having acquired the major part of the Historic Manton Estate in late 2017 and will begin the season training from new purpose-built facilities and the historic Manton Gallops. He has a potentially decent one to work with as well in the shape of Chilean. No doubt it is hoped the move will see an improvement on the team’s stats with the likes of Eminent and Razzmatazz looking to pick up some decent prize-money. Karl Burke has been plotting the three-year-old campaign for stable star laurens over the winter months with the 1,000 Guineas and the Oaks her ultimate targets. The last two seasons have been pretty good for the Middleham handler and he will be aiming to beat the 74 winners he achieved in 2017. James Fanshawe has been busy preparing The Tin Man for his defence of the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot in June. The Newmarket trainer also has high hopes for three-year-old Bombyx.

More to follow............................................................

A list of the websites of various Trainers and some owners worth keeping an eye on include:


Al Shaqab Racing:

Mark Johnston:

William Haggas:

Ralph Beckett:

Richard Fahey:

Richard Hannon:

Hugo Palmer: &

George Scott:

Jamie Osborne:

Roger Varian:

 Marco Botti:

 Mick Easterby:

 David Simcock:

 Richard Hughes:

 Mick Channon:

 Jeremy Noseda:

 Simon Crisford:

Roger Charlton:

Ruth Carr:

David O’Meara:

Robert Cowell:

Clive Cox:

James Tate:

Martyn Meade:

James Fanshawe: