Sir Michael Stoute: Hanging in There

For readers of a certain age, the name of Sir Michael Stoute will always be synonymous with that of Shergar, whose wonderful, record-breaking display in the Derby in 1981 – under “The Choirboy”, as the late Walter Swinburn was known in his heyday – is an indelible memory. However, 36 years later Sir Michael, who was knighted in 1998 for services to tourism in Barbados, where he was born, is still at the top of his profession.

 

Although overshadowed in recent years by the likes of Aidan O’Brien and John Gosden, it’s worth remembering that Sir Michael Stoute won the Flat trainers’ championship ten times between 1981 and 2009. Sir Michael was resurgent in 2017, too, winning more prize money in Britain than ever before – a total in excess of £3,855,000 – to finish fourth in the Flat trainers’ championship.

The veteran trainer, who turned 72 in October, had his share of heartache, with Ballet Concerto collapsing and dying on the gallops and Expert Eye, odds-on to provide his first Group One two-year-old winner for many a year, going lame in the Dewhurst Stakes. However, the now-retired Ulysses flew the flag for the yard, winning the Coral-Eclipse and the Juddmonte International before finishing an honourable third behind Enable in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, and there were plenty of other success stories, too. Sir Michael seems likely to ‘stay respectable’, as he put it, for a while longer just yet.

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