OUR MEMORIES
Smyth, Gordon


 

Maestro of Stable

 

1926, Gordon was born into a famous racing family in England.

 

His father was first a jump jockey, then a Trainer, and four of his uncles and three of his cousins were trainers.

 

1944, Gordon’s father, William, was approached by the Duke of Norfolk to become his private trainer and take over the training yard at Arundel Castle in Sussex.

 

Gordon was a natural sportsman, being Captain of Rugby and Cricket at school, however horses were his first love and it was natural for Gordon to follow the family tradition and become assistant to his father.

 

1961, after much hard work, Gordon took over the full license to train the Duke of Norfolk’s private stable.

 

In his first season as a trainer Gordon won 37 races, including the Gimcrack Stakes at York with the Duke of Norfolk’s smart 2 year old SOVEREIGN LORD.

 

He also won the Stewards Cup at Goodwood with SKYMASTER.owned by Mr W.J. Kelly.

 

1963, he also saddled BALLYMACAD to win the New Stakes at Royal Ascot.

 

1965, Gordon won ten races with the very fast 2 year old SKY GYPSY, including the Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot and the July Stakes at Goodwood.

 

On the retirement of Towser Gosden, the father of John Gosden, the 2012 leading British trainer, Gordon left Arundel and moved to Heath House Stables in Lewes Sussex.

 

1966, in his first season as a public trainer, Gordon achieved the ultimate by training the winner of the Epsom Derby, CHARLOTTOWN, owned by Lady Zia Wernher and ridden by Scobie Breasley, the famous Australian jockey.

 

1967 CHARLOTTOWN went on to win the Coronation Cup, and the John Porter Stakes.

 

Other well known owners with horses in Gordon’s stables were Sir Rex Cohen, Sir Gerald Glover and Mr. R. Richmond Watson.

 

After his early success and after only two seasons as a public trainer, Gordon’s name was already firmly entrenched in the annals of British racing history.

 

Two notable Australian jockeys connected to Gordon’s stables in those days were Scobie Breasley ( CHARLOTTOWN) and Ron Hutchinson (SKY GYPSY) but many other famous British jockeys also rode for him.

 

 

Guru of Stakes

 

1977, Gordon was invited to train in Hong Kong at the new Shatin racecourse, realizing the huge opportunities that had begun to build there since the Club turned professional.

 

Gordon was allocated four horses at the start, and guaranteed ten for his first season. Fortunately Gordon was successful with all his first four.

 

Soon some of Hong Kong‘s leading businessmen put horses in his stable, including Sir Michael Sandberg, later Lord Sandberg, Chairman of HSBC and the RHKJC as it was known then, Mr. John Pearce, Mr and Mrs Rusy Shroff, and Mr Winston Wong Ching Wah, and Mrs Lucy Wong Tsai Shiu Man.

 

Gordon won many of the trophy races during his stay in Hong Kong, but the one which was very special was the Queen Elizabeth II Cup, in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen (who was delighted to see a familiar face!) and the Duke of Edinburgh, with FOREVER GOLD (AV127) which was ridden by the Hong Kong trained jockey Tony PH Chan.

 

Gordon had also trained the winner of the next race, ROYAL PRINCE, owned by Mr and Mrs Rusy Shroff. This horse was eventually retired to England to be ridden by Sue, who enjoyed many wonderful hacks with him in the Sussex countryside. He died aged 29, having had a very happy time in the English fields.

 

Gordon shared success with many top jockeys during his time in Hong Kong, including Brian Taylor, Geoff Lewis, Wally Hood, Phillipe Paquet, Roger Wernham, Phillip Robinson, Greville Starkey, Peter Leyshan and of course Tony Chan, who had been his star apprentice.

 

1988, Gordon retired from training and returned with his wife Sue to their home at Plumpton in Sussex, only a few miles from Heath House Stables where his career as a public trainer began.

 

Gordon became a very successful bloodstock agent and consultant and continued to travel to Hong Kong, sending a number of horses to his old clients, mostly to be trained by David Oughton.
Gordon and Sue loved the life and people of Hong Kong and never once regretted their move there.

 

Photos and paintings hanging in their house remind the visitor of the successes and the obvious enjoyment had by all connected to Gordon’s stable.

 

2004 July, Gordon sadly lost his battle against a long illness and died at the age of 77.

 

 

HIGHLIGHTS

 

Season – Wins – Total Stakes

  • 77-78 Winners 11 HK $ 263,010
  • 78-79 Winners 24 HK $ 999,892
  • 79-80 Winners 17 HK $ 830,460
  • 80-81 Winners 13 HK $ 1,063,800
  • 81-82 Winners 15 HK $ 1,593.360
  • 82-83 Winners 13 HK $ 1,155,630
  • 83-84 Winners 12 HK $ 1,657,700
  • 84-85 Winners 12 HK $ 1,818,512
  • 85-86 Winners 15 HK $ 1,889,050
  • 86-87 Winners 20 HK $ 3,181,300
  • 87-88 Winners 29 HK $ 5,990,803

11 seasons as trainer
181 winners saddled

Group races including:

 

 

SUMMARY

 

Winning Jockeys:
G Lane, P Paquet, R Wernham, P Leyshen, P H Chan etc

 

Renowned Owners in Hong Kong:
Sir Michael Sandberg, Mr J L C Pearce, Mr and Mrs R M Shroff, Mr Winston Wong Ching Wah & Mrs Lucy Wong Tsai Shiu Man

 

Distinctive nose-band worn by nearly all Smyth horses.

 

 

REFERENCE

 

SOVEREIGN LAND, BALLY MOCAD, SKY GIQSY were also very successful horses trained by Mr Gordon Smyth.

 

 

 

RELATED LINK

 

Gordon Smyth – video showcase

Gordon Smyth – photo gallery

 

 

 


 

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