Sundown on John Dunlop’s 46 year career

A name that has graced the trainer lists for almost half a century won’t be appearing any more after the end of this flat racing season. Yesterday, John Dunlop announced that he was ready to retire after 46 years in the job.

At the age of 73, he’s had a terrific time doing one job he’s clearly loved, doing it very well, and ensuring the Dunlop name isn’t lost to racing. Sons Ed and Harry are already maintaining the family standard. Oh, and only last week, John Dunlop provided SoTD followers with a very nice win when Mafeteng won at odds of 15/2. Let’s have no more of his horses as SoTD selections, and go out on a high.

Twice winner of the Epsom Derby with Shirley Heights (1978) and Erhaab (1994), Dunlop, also saddled three St Leger winners in Moon Madness (1986), Silver Patriarch (1997) and Millenary (2000).

Setting out his decision, Dunlop said: “I can confirm that I’ll be retiring at the end of the current Flat turf season. “There are several reasons behind the decision. I now have much reduced stable numbers and it is now less viable than it once was. My wife has also been ill for quite a while as well, so that has been a factor and I can also now live in the shadow of my very successful sons.”

Former jockey Willie Carson, who rode over 650 winners for the trainer, explained what he saw as the key factor behind Dunlop’s success. He said, “When you rode a horse and told him all about it, the next time you rode it the horse improved.” That was one of the factors that enabled him, along with Richard Hannon, Sirs Stoute and Cecil, and Barry Hills to be one of the select group to have trained over 3,500 winners.

Dunlop was champion trainer just once, in 1995, though titles were never the driver for a man who was always a gentle man, and inspired many who worked for him, and, of course, has been a model example and tutor for his sons.

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2 replies
  1. danyam55 says:

    Many years ago at a sandown eclipse meeting I was stood in the tote hall,I looked around and standing next to me was John Dunlop,he was watching one of his horses run at another meeting which went on to win,I had a brief chat to him and he was the perfect gentleman,good luck to him in his retirement,

    • Matt Bisogno says:

      A real shame, though not altogether surprising. As I noted when putting up Mafeteng (a nice winner) on SotD on Sunday, he’s been on the wane for a while.

      Wishing him every pleasure in retirement. Top man for a very long time in the racing game.


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