John Gosden is one of the world’s leading trainers, enjoying 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 awarded an OBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours list at the end of 2016 in recognition of his services to horseracing.
The QIPCO 2000 Guineas has eluded him but he has won all the other British Classics, at least once, with Benny The Dip (1997) and Golden Horn (2015) landing the Derby for him. He has won numerous other significant prizes at least once, including the King George, Coral-Eclipse, Gold Cup, Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Gosden enjoyed a golden 2018 – no fewer than 11 QIPCO British Champions Series winners helping him win a third trainers’ championship in a canter. In addition, his Enable became only the eighth horse in history – and first trained in Britain – to win a back-to-back renewals of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
“I enjoy training horses, being around horses,” Gosden said on the eve of QIPCO British Champions Day, where he enjoyed a glittering treble. “It’s a passion, it really is. I’d feel a bit weird if I woke up in the morning with nothing to do. I’d certainly drive my wife mad if that was the case.
“To me, it [the Championship] is very much a stable thing. It’s not about a trainer, it’s about the whole of the team in the yard from the top assistant down to the guy who is mucking out. We are stockmen and women. It’s seven days a week, 52 weeks of the year, the horses are there and you’ve got to attend to them. Early mornings, long days, travelling back from the races – there’s a lot of work people put in.”
He had also enjoyed a stellar 2017 campaign, with the outstanding Enable winning five Group One races – the Investec Oaks, Irish Oaks, King George, Yorkshire Oaks and Arc.
In addition, he pulled off a massive double on Champions Day – Cracksman being a stunning winner of the QIPCO Champion Stakes and Persuasive taking the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.
Apart from his brilliance as a trainer, he is recognised as one of the sport’s most articulate communicators.
Gosden, son of John “Towser” Gosden, a renowned horseman and trainer, trained in the USA between 1980 and 1988 before returning to England. He never considered doing anything else – training racehorses, he says, was “in the blood”.
He studied at Cambridge University. A keen sports fan, he supports Ipswich Town, while his wife, Rachel Hood, is a qualified lawyer and president of the Racehorse Owners’ Association.
Gosden secured three QIPCO British Champions Series victories in 2011, putting him in fourth place in the trainers’ table, most notably thanks to the highly talented three-year-old Nathaniel who triumphed in the Group 1 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (sponsored by Betfair), at Ascot in July.
The 2012 season was even better. Gosden was crowned champion trainer in the UK for the first time and also took the title of top trainer at Royal Ascot with five winners including the Coronation Stakes (part of the QIPCO British Champions Series) with Fallen For You.
He also sent out Nathaniel to claim the Group 1 Coral-Eclipse at Sandown Park and matched his 2011 total in the QIPCO British Champions Series with The Fugue’s success in the Markel Insurance Nassau Stakes at Glorious Goodwood. He came close to notching up a host of other winners, sending out six seconds and six thirds in QIPCO British Champions races in 2012.
He struck for the first time in 2013 when saddling Elusive Kate to win the Etihad Airways Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket in July, followed that with Winsili’s victory in the Markel Insurance Nassau Stakes at Glorious Goodwood and then saddled The Fugue who ran away with the Darley Yorkshire Oaks at York’s Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival and then went on to land the Irish Champion Stakes. In all he claimed six Group 1 victories around the world in 2013.
He made a fantastic start to 2014 with a string of victories, but the big one eluded him when the previously unbeaten Kingman was mowed down by Night Of Thunder inside the final furlong of the QIPCO 2000 Guineas. He made up for that in Irish 2000 Guineas, however, winning by an easy five lengths and then he claimed his first Investec Oaks victory courtesy of runaway winner, Taghrooda. He saddled Romsdal to finish third in the Investec Derby a day later.
Next he won the St James’s Palace Stakes when Kingman turned the QIPCO 2000 Guineas form around with Night Of Thunder to win impressively and the very next day he won the Prince of Wales’s Stakes with an outstanding performance by The Fugue which took him to the top of the trainers’ table for short while.
Taghrooda confirmed her class with a supremely impressive victory in the QIPCO King George, maintaining her unbeaten record and giving Gosden his fourth QIPCO British Champions Series victory in the 2014 season. He quickly made that five when Kingman won the QIPCO Sussex Stakes with an amazing burst of speed inside the final half furlong, extending his lead at the top of the trainers’ table.
He saddled three Group 1 winners in a week when winning the Markel Insurance Nassau Stakes for the third time in a row courtesy of Sultanina. That makes six Group 1s already in Britain this season with more to come for sure with Kingman adding one in France when taking the Prix Jacques Le Marois with ease at Deauville.
Taghrooda lost her unbeaten record in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks, with Tapestry mastering her close home, and he had another second place when Romsdal was second in the Ladbrokes St Leger.
The Investec Derby jump started Gosden’s 2015 QIPCO British Champions Series campaign as his two three-year-olds, Golden Horn and Jack Hobbs registered a famous 1-2 in the Epsom showpiece. Golden Horn increased his tally when taking the Coral-Eclipse just a month later. Gosden also saddled the third-placed horse in the Eclipse, Western Hymn.
Golden Horn almost added to Gosden’s tally when finishing a narrow second to 50/1 outsider Arabian Queen in the Juddmonte International Stakes at York. He went on to win the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes and Qatar Prix De l’Arc de Triomphe before finishing second in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. Gosden says he has never trained a better middle-distance performer.
Flying Officer provided Gosden with his first ever Champions Day winner as the improving stayer landed the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup under Frankie Dettori. Connections almost notched a second win on the card when Journey was narrowly out-pointed by Simple Verse in the Fillies & Mares race. Jack Hobbs looked set to end a fairytale day for Gosden when sent off as a warm-favourite in the QIPCO Champion Stakes but he paid for his early exertions and was worn down late on by Fascinating Rock and the fast-finishing Found.
In 2016 he had to wait until the final day of the Series before striking with Journey in the Fillies & Mares Stakes but it was a different story in 2017.