Gosden the graduate with a First in racing

Pirate IRWIN
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John Gosden may have been lost to racing had it not been for the love of Rachel, now his wife, at Cambridge University and of the sport itself he told AFP

John Gosden lapped up the plaudits that flowed after training three winners on Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday but the master trainer might have been lost to the 'Sport of Kings' had it not been for love.

The 67-year-old -- who in just a fortnight has seen Enable and Cracksman retain the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and the Champion Stakes respectively both ridden by his 'Lionel Messi' Frankie Dettori -- came out of Cambridge University with an economics degree.

However Gosden -- who had racing coursing through his veins through his trainer father John known as 'Towser' -- told AFP at Tattersalls Yearling Sales at Newmarket this week it was not a time to be on the jobs market.

"I couldn't get a job for love or money in 1974," he said.

"I went to see a very very brilliant man John Bradfield, Bursar of Trinity College (Cambridge) a man of great humility and I said to him 'I hear sir you are building a Science Park in Cambridge'.

"He said yes he put me in the back of his car and we drove out there and the first building was going up."

Gosden, who is not racing obssessed and when he has spare time spends part of it visiting art exhibitions, as a result found himself on a plane to Venezuela.

"They wanted to build one in Caracas he (Bradfield) gave me the plans and I went in 1974.

"I did all the design for it and they built it but being Venezuelan they never occupied it."

Gosden, who had lost touch with racing when his father died in 1967, then found two good reasons to give up on Venezuela.

"I had fallen in love with a girl called Rachel at Cambridge and so after a year and a bit I came back here (Newmarket is close to Cambridge) and worked for Noel Murless for his final two years as a trainer.

"I tried something else but I came back to the horses and did it for the love of both Rachel and the horses," added Gosden, who married Rachel a qualified lawyer and very much part of his team.

Dettori for his part is fully recognisant of Gosden's qualities both as a trainer and as a friend.

Gosden -- who sums up their relationship as based on "absolute trust and self-belief" -- on two occasions came to his rescue when the Italian's career was at risk of foundering.

"He's a genius to me and for the things he has done are amazing," said Dettori.

- 'Racing is very fickle' -

Gosden, who started training in humble fashion in California with just three horses, is unlike Dettori -- who is admittedly 20 years younger -- given to exuberant displays of emotion.

Principally because Gosden -- who has four children with Rachel -- knows how much of a rollercoaster the sport is.

"I am fortunate, a lot of people work their whole lives in something they don't love," he said.

"It is a great way of life but the pole is very slippery, there are plenty of banana skins round the corner you have to be careful.

"It is not a bed of roses, certainly some thorns in it."

Gosden, who credits a "great bunch" of owner/breeders for the majority of his success but worries whether as they get older their children possess the same passion for the sport, says he has the ammunition for the moment but dark skies could always appear.

"I have a fabulous staff who work with me and has taken years to assemble," he said.

"I have wonderful owners, the horses have come through but you can have barren years.

"Racing is very fickle for instance at the sales they are all mad about one stallion one year then the next year it is in the ice box stone cold no one wants to touch him.

"It has always been a game of fashion....no doubt about that."

For the moment he is the very height of fashion.