Trainers & Jockeys Turf 2020


Having won the 2018 Stobart Annual Jockey title – the award based on number of winners during a calendar year – Oisin Murphy was crowned Champion Jockey 2019 at Qipco Champions Day 2019 with a total of 168 winners finishing 35 clear of nearest rival Daniel Tudhope. Qatar Racings retained jockey will be booting home plenty of winners again in 2020 no doubt. He certainly hasn’t been resting on his laurels having won the G.1 Japan Cup in November. Runner-up in the Flat Jockeys Championship last year Daniel Tudhope will no doubt be looking to build on his total of 133 in the Championship in 2020. David O’Meara and William Haggas supply most of the rides but take note when Archie Watson give his the leg-up as he has a 32% strike-rate for the yard. Jim Crowley was as busy as ever and finished third again in the Stobart Flat Jockeys Championship on 99 winners. I have mentioned previously that he has eye-catching stats for a few yards but when getting the call from Roger Varian or Saeed bin Suroor take note as anything he gets the leg-up on from them is worth a second look; 48% and 40% strike rates respectively in 2019. Patrick Joseph "P.J." McDonald finished fifth in the Championship table with 82 winners, riding a total of 132 in the calendar year. Perhaps most famous for his association with Laurens he will be booting home his share of winners again in the coming months; he rides Chelmsford City particularly well. Ben Curtis rode 82 in the Championship as well and a total of 137 in 2019. Karl Burke and Brian Ellison provide most of his rides and the jockey is picking up some decent rides from other big yards as well now and may well finish higher in the table this coming season. Brazilian Silvestre De Sousa finished down the table last year after an injury interrupted campaign, suffering a broken collarbone among other injuries, with just the 79 winners in the Championship. He has been riding out in Hong Kong again over the winter and will be looking to hit the ground running come March. Andrea Atzeni was a long way down the table this year with just 49 winners in the Championship, he rode a total of 76 in the year. He has said before he would love to be Champion one day. Time is very much on his side as he turns 29 this March, will the Italian go for it this year? James Doyle had another cracking season, in part due to the injury to William Buick meaning he picked up some very good rides for Godolphin, but also because so many other trainers booked him and his ongoing agreement with William Haggas. I am a big fan and though he won’t be going for the title you can be sure he will pick up a Group race or ten. Talking of Godolphin William Buick was sidelined with post head-injury syndrome for months in the summer but looked as good as ever on his return to action. He has Pinatubo and Ghaiyyath too look forward to over the coming months and looks odds-on for more Group One glory.

Looking at some of the younger brigade Tom Marquand had a cracking 2019 and the Champion Apprentice of 2015 just keeps climbing the ladder. Richard Hannon has provided the bulk of his opportunities to date but he has eye-catching stats riding for William Haggas and Charlie Appleby. We could be witnessing the very early days of a racing dynasty of the future bearing in mind the girlfriend of Mr Marquand is a certain Hollie Doyle. Hollie broke the record in Britain for the most winners in a calendar year by a female jockey in 2019 booting home 116 winners; she finished thirteenth in the Flat Jockeys Championship on 63. She is already on record as saying her main aim for 2020 is to land a Group success, she has five Listed winners to her name, and I wouldn’t bet against her doing it! No industry relies on breeding as much s horse racing – imagine if these two have little jocks…………… Champion Apprentice for 2018 Jason Watson moved into the big leagues and rode 77 winners again (same as 2018) in the Championship which saw him finish ninth in the table (tenth last year). He has been keeping at it and rode a total of 97 in 2019 booting a few home on the All-Weather.  Young gun Kieran Shoemark who has had an up and down start to his career, it has to be said, and it was nice to see him get back to riding last summer. He made a dream return to the saddle with a winner on his first ride back from a drugs ban at Lingfield! Charlie Hills will be supplying most of his rides with the likes of Godolphin and Hugo Palmer also using his services. I think he can have a big year in 2020. I tipped up Callum Rodriguez as one to watch last year and after giving a positive sample for what is understood to be cocaine when riding at Southwell on 27th February he was banned for six months! He is back riding again now for Michael Dods and Keith Dalgleish and he is another I expect to have a big 2020.  

Last, but by no means least, two of the elder statesman in the weighing room and two of the biggest names in the game. Frankie Dettori didn’t exactly over exert himself in the Championship last year, just the 206 rides, but he won on 51 of them!  Add to that stat he notched up 19 Group One victories - his best ever annual tally – and it simply confirms he is the main for the big occasion. Expect more of the same this year with the excitable little Italian showing-up and steeling the show at the big meetings. Love him or hate him he’s good for the game. You cannot leave out Ryan Moore when doing a list of Jockeys and he will no doubt be doing what he does in the coming months – riding winners in big races for big stables across the Globe. Considered by many the best of the best you are more likely to see him at Sha Tin than Salisbury these days but take note on the rare occasion he gets the leg-up on one you wouldn’t expect.  


John Hammond has retired from the game. He was a Kent lad but worked in France as assistant to Andre Fabre before undertaking a career in training himself based in Chantilly. He looked after some good’uns in his time such as Montjeu and Suave Dancer. Announcing his plan to retire at the send of the 2019 season he said ‘I’ve had a great trot’ which I think is a lovely way to sign off. Good luck to him.

Charlie Appleby might just have the best horse he has, and may ever, train in the shape of Pinatubo to look forward to. Along with the likes of Ghaiyyath and Space Blues this could be a stellar year for the 44-year-old Godolphin trainer. I honestly think with the team he has down at Moulton Paddocks, 153 in training, he will mop up some big prizes and could push for the Champion Trainer title if team Godolphin allow, though it is unlikely. Update 12th February 2020:  Charlie Appleby appears to have been backed to the hilt by Sheikh Mohammed for the 2020 Flat season after taking delivery of the top three lots – worth nine million guineas – from last year's Tattersalls October Yearling Sales.

The other Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor had 81 winners at a strike-rate of 23% in 2019 with Red Galileo and Thunder Snow being his flagbearers. Both now retired he will be looking to the likes of Final Song to collect some big prizes this year along with one of my Dirty Dozen Military March.  

Far from resting on his laurels having been crowned Champion Trainer for a fourth time and having reached the noteworthy milestone of 3,000 winners on the Flat in Britain John Gosden will have been hatching plans for the new campaign. I am not convinced he has a Classic contender in the 180 housed at Clarehaven Stables but there is of course the small matter of plotting a route for Enable on her way to a potential historic third Arc and Stradivarius looking to remain on top in the staying division. He will be somewhere near to top of the table again in 2020 you can be sure of that. Aidan O’Brien has a host of classic contenders yeat again and you know that plenty of midnight oil will have been burnt down at Ballydoyle, Co. Tipperary mapping out three-year-old campaigns. That said, I think he might struggle in the Classics this year. As for the older brigade Kew Gardens will be back and will no doubt collect plenty of prize-money as will Magic Wand to name but two and that may be where Ballydoyle will have the most success this season. Always note his runners at Chester where the yard has an outstanding strike-rate.  

Mark Johnston didn’t just continue to do what he does, sending out winner after winner, but in fact smashed the winners in a calendar year record notching up 248 wins from 1,442 runs January-December 2019. ‘Always Trying’ is the yard motto and you certainly couldn’t accuse the Scotsman of being lazy! The Master of Kingsley Park in Middleham North Yorkshire has been as active as ever during the winter on the All-Weather, six winners before end of January, and they will be aiming for 200+ winners again no doubt. It must be something in the Yorkshire air as about an hour away by car in Musley Bank Richard Fahey is another who loves a runner, and a winner, not that he could live with Johnston this year, but he ended with a very respectable number of wins 170 and actually was busier having 1,454 runs! Down in Marlborough, Wiltshire Richard Hannon was taking it easy compared to the two above with just 1,286 runs in 2019 from which he achieved 153 wins. He doesn’t quite have the quality the likes of Appleby, O’Brien and Gosden do but he remains a shrewd operator who will win his fair share again in 2020 and King Of Change should win a prize or two. I put up Archie Watson as a trainer to watch for 2019 and he ended the calendar year on a P.B. of 133 winners. I backed Soldiers Call more than once agaion last season and that colt was just one of many to catch the eye sent out from his historic Saxon Gate yard in Upper Lambourn. Down slightly from the previous year he still had a strike-rate of 17% through 2019. This will be his fifth year as a licensed trainer and he is unarguably on the up.

Sir Michael Stoute doesn’t have the horses to go to work with that he did having lost a few to stud in recent years including now of course Crystal Ocean. Mustashry and Dream Of Dreams are probably the best he has down at Freemason Lodge. Roger Varian had a better year in 2019 and will no doubt be plotting a campaign for Defoe and Roseman as I write for his ally Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum amongst others. Andrew Balding will be doing his thing at his base in Kingsclere. He had 126 wins in 2019 and will be aiming for similar this year no doubt. King Power Racing supply him so me good’uns and Shine So Bright could be his flagbearer for the season. William Haggas is consistently towards the top of the table and has a pretty decent looking team at Somerville Lodge if no world-beater. He is unlikely to be Champion Trainer but the Old Harrovian knows a trick or two and will be amongst the top Trainers again in 2020 aiming for around 150 winners in the calendar year. Patrick Owens has joined the ranks of Trainers at HQ having taken out a licence to train from the famous Authorized Yard at St Gatien Stables in Newmarket after over 25 years learning his trade. Owens has worked for several big names in the sport including John Gosden and Luca Cumani. Most recently he has spent six years in Newmarket pre-training for some of the town’s biggest stables, including John Gosden. George Scott moved along Newmarket's Hamilton Road back in September to Eve Lodge Stables. Scott enjoyed four successful years at Saffron House Stables and has now expanded to an 80-box yard which was the former base of Lester Piggott. Marcus Tregoning has had a quieter few years of late down at Whitsbury Manor Stables but he knows how to train them as his CV shows including Derby winner Sir Percy (2006). Mohaather is probably the best he has at the moment. Marco Botti looks to have a number of two-year-olds this season and as he can get one ready, they may be worth a look over the coming months. Michael Appleby is always worth looking for early in the year with his All-Weather runners as is Tony Carroll.  

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


Al Shaqab Racing:

Qatar 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:

Archie Watson:

Andi Brown:

Tom Dascombe:

Marcus Tregoning: