TRAINER AND GOODWOOD RACECOURSE DIRECTOR
John Dunlop’s six winners at Goodwood during 2001 were significant in that they made the Arundel-based handler the most successful current trainer at the Sussex racecourse with 154 victories – five more than nearest rival Henry Cecil.
Since then he continued to add Goodwood winners to his tally – with three more coming in 2008 It is most fitting for him to be the top trainer because in 1991, after he had already reached the very heights of his profession, Dunlop was approached by the Duke of Richmond and Gordon to join the board of Goodwood Racecourse.
The trainer, who was born on 10 July 1939, was very honoured and pleased to accept this opportunity to develop closer ties with a racecourse about which he has said: “The place is close to my stable and close to my heart. I have raced all over the world and I think it is the most beautiful racecourse in the world – on a good day of course. The Festival meeting is always a very special one with a unique atmosphere. The course is well looked after. And, while it is not the most straightforward in the sport, its ups and downs provide a charm to go with its beauty.”
A search through the form books reveal that Dunlop, who learnt his trade as assistant to Neville Dent and Gordon Smyth, had his first winner at Goodwood on 25 July 1967, when Storm Bird justified favouritism in the New Ham Stakes under a fine ride from Ron Hutchinson. He had taken out his first trainer’s licence just one season earlier.
Since then the winners have continued to flow for the trainer, whose 186 Goodwood successes include 41 wins at the Festival Meeting and a Group One BGC Sussex Stakes victory with the Pat Eddery-ridden Posse in 1980.
A closer examination of Dunlop’s record at his local track reveals that he is the most successful current trainer in three Listed and Group events: the Listed Lupe Stakes (five victories), the Group Three Betfair Gordon Stakes (six victories) and the Group Three Betfair Molecomb Stakes (three victories).
Dunlop trains near Arundel. The most recent of his 10 British classic successes was provided by Millenary in the 2000 renewal of the St Leger at Doncaster. He has won two Derbys with Shirley Heights and Erhaab.
Dunlop’s training expertise has been passed on to many notable figures within the racing industry. Current trainers, Jeremy Noseda and Gerard Butler, as well as Godolphin’s racing manager Simon Crisford, have all worked for him as assistants.
In addition, his sons Ed and Harry are both making their presence felt. Elder son Ed trained the great Ouija Board who won a string of Group One races all round the world including two Breeders’ Cups Filly & Mare Turf Races, while younger son Harry, started training in his own right at Lambourn in the autumn of 2006 and is sending out winners from Windsor House Stables.