Obituary: David Morley - Obituaries - News - The Independent

Obituary: David Morley

Michael Frederick David Morley, racehorse trainer: born Salisbury, Wiltshire 17 September 1939; three times married (three sons, two daughters); died Garrowby, West Yorkshire 5 January 1998.

While not the most successful trainer at the Flat racing headquarters of Newmarket, David Morley could well lay claim to being the most popular.

Morley's career was one of highly respectable achievement rather than brilliant success, but he none the less made his mark, particularly in the later stages of his life. Having first taken out a trainer's licence in 1973, his three Group 1 winners all came in the last three years. The two-year-olds Fard and Hayil both won the Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket, in 1994 and 1997, for their owner Hamdan al-Maktoum, who provided Morley with a considerable boost when sending horses to the yard in 1988.

But without question Morley's most cherished win came with last year's Group 1 Ascot Gold Cup when Celeric, owned and bred by his brother-in- law Christopher Spence, was skilfully produced by his jockey Pat Eddery to win one of Britain's best-known races with a late swoop. Celeric for much of his career had been regarded as a talented handicapper but one that was tricky to ride. Under Morley's care he flourished relatively late in life to become a high-class stayer.

Morley gained a reputation for caring greatly for the horses that he trained, so much so that he became dismayed of training National Hunt horses because he could not bear the high rate of injuries they suffered. That led to Morley's switching full-time to Flat horses in 1985.

His interest in racing had burgeoned with visits as a child to his grandfather Charles Gordon's stud in Devon. After being educated at Eton he served his National Service with the 10th Hussars in Germany, where he actually trained horses to run under German Jockey Club rules. Rejecting a job in the City, Morley spent nine years as assistant to Frank Cundell before setting up on his own in 1973, when he built up a yard in Bury St Edmunds.

Although he was primarily a jumps trainer at that point, Morley landed the first of 11 Group races on the Flat when Calaba, ridden by Lester Piggott, who won seven races on the filly, was victorious in the 1975 Cumberland Lodge Stakes at Ascot.

Over jumps, some of Morley's best horses included two of the best four- year-old hurdlers of the 1975/76 season in Valmony and Havanus. Spanish Tan beat the popular course specialist Tingle Creek on his first run for Morley in the Sandown Handicap Pattern Chase, while the Yorkshire Chase winner Tragus beat another popular horse in Night Nurse in the Freshfields Holidays Chase, also at Sandown. Tragus went on to finish sixth to Grittar in the 1981 Grand National, while another talented staying chaser trained by Morley was Banlieu, who was placed in three successive runnings of the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury.

Morley switched to Newmarket in 1985 and built up his own stables on Hamilton Road, named High Haven after the first winner he trained at Market Rasen in 1973. His ambition was to train a Classic winner from the yard; the closest he got was Fahal's fourth place to Lammtarra in the 1981 Derby.

Morley had been troubled by a heart condition for a number of years, which his friends said he dealt with bravely and rarely letting it affect his humorous outlook. He even saw the funny side, eventually, of reports that he had actually died three years ago while staying in Dubai. His friends had been rung up for tributes.

- Richard Griffiths

News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Energy Markets Analyst

£400000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Energy Markets An...

Junior Web Analyst – West Sussex – Up to £35k DOE

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

Nursery Manager

£22000 - £23000 per annum: Randstad Education Bristol: We are currently recrui...

Web Analyst – Permanent – Up to £40k - London

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week