Racing: Sangster calls up Gosden

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The Independent Online
JOHN GOSDEN, who counts a Derby among the dozens of major races he has won from Stanley House Stables in Newmarket, is to replace Peter Chapple-Hyam as the master of Manton, in Wiltshire, from next season. Chapple-Hyam, who has effectively been sacked by Robert Sangster, Manton's owner, intends to continue training elsewhere, but his facilities and firepower will inevitably be hugely diminished.

Sangster's decision, revealed in a statement yesterday evening, is a huge setback for Chapple-Hyam, who took over from Barry Hills at Manton in 1991. The estate, one of the most historic in British racing, was refurbished by Sangster in the 1980s to become possibly the finest training establishment in the country.

In his eight years at Manton Chapple-Hyam has sent out Dr Devious to win the Derby, and, for Sangster, prepared horses like Rodrigo De Triano and Turtle Island for Classic success. The last 18 months, though, have been relatively lean. A particular disappointment has been the failure of Commander Collins, one of last season's top two-year-olds, to confirm his immense promise in two outings this season.

In his statement, Sangster said: "Making these decisions is never easy, however during the last year or two things haven't gone as Peter or myself would have wished and we both felt that a change was in our interests. I am very pleased that Peter has decided to continue training on his own account, and I will certainly support him, as I am sure many of the outside owners at Manton will."

For Gosden, the last few years have been similar to Chapple-Hyam's. The son of the trainer Towser Gosden, he spent time as assistant to Vincent O'Brien and Sir Noel Murless before moving to California to train in his own right. His successes there included the 1994 Breeders' Cup Mile with the Sangster-owned Royal Heroine.

In 1988, though, Gosden returned to Britain to take over at Stanley House. Although he has outside owners, the majority of his 150-strong team are owned by Sheikh Mohammed. In recent years, though, the growing significance of Godolphin in the Sheikh's game plan has seen many of the better animals siphoned off to race under the banner of the Dubai-based organisation. It is now possible, perhaps probable, that next season Stanley House will become Godolphin's HQ.

In one sense, the move can be seen as a rationalisation. Sangster is not the all-conquering force of old, while Godolphin's success means that Sheikh Mohammed no longer has need of a private trainer. Gosden is the lucky man who gets the chance to do both jobs.

"I am greatly looking forward to training at Manton," Gosden said yesterday, "and renewing my association with Robert. I would also like to express my gratitude to Sheikh Mohammed for his friendship and support since my return to England. I am pleased to confirm that I will continue to train for him at Manton."

For Peter Chapple-Hyam, though, the road back to the top may be long. He won the 2,000 Guineas and Derby in his second year training and has also won the Dewhurst, the Champion Stakes and the Irish 2,000 Guineas three times. Two years ago, his position looked unassailable. Like others before him, though, he has discovered that the biggest owners often have the shortest memories.

RICHARD EDMONDSON

Nap: Hunting Tiger

(Lingfield 2.40)

NB: Water Jump

(Lingfield 3.10)

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