In 1994 William Jarvis trained Grand Lodge to win the St James’s Palace Stakes at Ascot, after which he amusingly described the colt as “a very easy horse to train…even I can’t bugger him up.”
In 2021 the trainer tasted top-flight glory again, though this time there were less witticisms and more weeping as Lady Bowthorpe took the Qatar Nassau Stakes and ended a Group One drought that had lasted for 24 years.
The mare is owned by music agent Emma Banks, the genius behind acts such as Florence + The Machine, Katy Perry, Kylie Minogue and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Usually such a figure would eclipse the humble folk found in racing yards, but the other characters in this victory tell an equally compelling tale.
The jockey on board was Kieran Shoemark, a young rider who displayed startling honesty when not only readily accepting a six-month suspension for cocaine use, but welcoming the sanction and openly professing his reliance on drugs and alcohol.
He even publicly encouraged more stringent routine tests, such was his determination to seek help and rid himself of his addiction.
That determination has served him well, as has his association with Jarvis and Banks, who have been unwavering in their support for Shoemark since his return to the saddle following a stint in rehab facility.
This season has not always rewarded them with the success their loyalty deserves. Lady Bowthorpe may have made a winning start to her campaign in the Dahlia Stakes, but runs in the Lockinge and the Duke of Cambridge both saw her finish runner-up, although there was little lost in finishing behind Palace Pier in the Newbury showpiece.
The mare then took on the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket, but her luck had well and truly deserted her on that occasion and Jarvis cried tears of frustration at the July Course as she came home in fourth after a troubled passage through the race.
But a season of misfortune is no match for the stoicism of Jarvis, who has waited over two decades to saddle another Group One winner and has not yet lost patience with a sport where notable successes are increasingly falling into the hands of a dwindling number of stables.
At Goodwood the just deserts were finally served as Lady Bowthorpe (100-30) roared to a superb victory under Shoemark, who rode as if this performance alone was his one chance to repay the faith shown in both his ability and his character.
Jarvis’ path from the stands to the the winner’s enclosure was continually blocked by well-wishers and hat-tippers, his tearful family members embraced one another and Lady Bowthorpe returned imperious to great applause, her owner proudly at her side.
As the trainer spoke to the media his tears subsided, but the mention of his small team of staff was enough to bring them to the surface again.
“It’s fantastic, we’ve dreamt about this for a long time, we knew she was special,” he said.
“I think after she won the Dahlia Stakes that was when I, personally, thought she should have the Nassau Stakes on her radar and we sort of worked back a little bit.
“Having said that, she hasn’t missed a beat, we went Dahlia, Lockinge, Royal Ascot, Newmarket, she’s a very tough mare.
“I’ve been dying to run her over 10 furlongs for a long time, but events transpired against us until today. Anyway, I think she has proved that she’s even better over 10 than she is at a mile.
“I’m so chuffed for the team at home more than anything else, they’ve worked incredibly hard, we only have a staff of seven or eight.
“They all just work so hard for Lady Bowthorpe, it’s all due to them.”
Shoemark’s road to redemption was a similarly emotive topic and it was on this theme, of loyalty and faith, that Jarvis concluded that it was his retained faith in himself that was perhaps most important of all.
“I’ve never lost faith in myself as a racehorse trainer, quite a lot of other people may have done,” he said.
“Maybe that’s why we’ve only got 28 horses in the yard, but after today we may have another two or another three.
“I’ve got a lovely bunch of staff working for me and they’re fantastic, they’ve never lost faith in me and they give me everything.
“It’s a real family unit and we’re very proud that we have a lot of loyalty, we’ve been loyal to Kieran and I’m delighted we stuck with him.
“We’re very humbled by it, I like to think I’m a modest person and I’ve endured a few lows, but we’ll celebrate today.
“It’s a really special day.”