Seven Days: The Remarkable Jarvis Training Dynasty 

William Jarvis with his son Jack and Emma Banks after the Lady Bowthorpe's Nassau win | Racingfotos 


As we stand braced for five consecutive weekends of Group 1 action in France and Britain, it is a sign of course that the Flat season of 2023 is drawing to a close, albeit with a bang rather than a whimper.

As announced in the Racing Post on Sunday, these final skirmishes on the turf will also bring with them the ending of the longest-running family training dynasty in Britain when William Jarvis saddles his final runner after 38 years with a licence. You could say he was born to it, following not just in his father's footsteps, but those of his grandfather and two generations before that, as well as various uncles and relatives, which include members of the notable Leader, Rickaby and Hall families. More than that though, Jarvis is simply a really good bloke who will be much missed among the Newmarket training ranks and beyond, especially in his role as a proactive and industrious president of the Newmarket Trainers' Federation. 

In a sense, the Group 1 winners Grand Lodge (Chief's Crown) and Lady Bowthorpe (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}) served as book-ends for Jarvis's training career, which commenced in 1985 after he had worked in Australia as an assistant to George Hanlon and Tommy Smith, and back in Newmarket to Henry Cecil.

It was at the latter's Warren Place where Jarvis would have first encountered the stock of Lord Howard de Walden, in whose famous apricot silks ran such great names as the Cecil-trained Slip Anchor (GB), Kris (GB) and Diesis (GB).

The same owner-breeder's Weld (GB) became an important early group winner for Jarvis in the Doncaster Cup and Jockey Club Cup of 1989 and he was followed several years later by Grand Lodge. As the trainer's first Group 1 winner, he ensured that Phantom House Stables remained very much on the map with his victory in the Dewhurst S., followed the next year by an agonising short-head defeat by Mister Baileys (GB) in the 2,000 Guineas before he notched his second top-level success in the St James's Palace S. Jarvis also oversaw the careers of Grand Lodge's sister Papabile and half-sister La Persiana (GB) (Daylami {Ire}), both of whom were dual Listed winners. More recently, those colours were carried to success for Phantom House and Lady Howard de Walden by the G3 Lillie Langtry S. victrix Gravitation (GB) (Galileo {Ire}).

“I was very lucky in the early days to have had the support of some English owner-breeders. It gave me a real headstart to have had Mr Jim Joel's colours and Lord Howard de Walden's colours hanging in the racing tack room. That was always very special,” Jarvis said, while acknowledging that the demise of the owner-breeder has been one of the major changes in the near-four decades that he has been training. 

“Mr Joel and Lord Howard de Walden never sold a yearling or a foal. Every single horse they bred was put into training,” he said. “Even now, if you look at Cheveley Park Stud and Mr Oppenheimer and the Lloyd-Webbers: I would classify them as commercial owner-breeders. They sell some of their colts and to an extent they have to balance the books.

“The game has changed completely, that's for sure, and whether it's changed for the better is for other people to comment on. To an extent, and it's not a chippy remark at all, but it is becoming a bit more polarised, and the big are getting bigger, and the middle tier and smaller tier of professionals are going to be up against it.”

Jarvis, who turns 63 next month, has three children who have steered different courses, but he admits that he only ever really had a desire to continue the Jarvis family tradition. His sister Jane George, who is married to Tattersalls' marketing director Jimmy George, is a director of the Newmarket-based International Racing Bureau.

“It was important to me, and I felt very honoured to be part of it, because my father was a pretty good trainer and my grandfather trained for King George V and trained Classic winners for the royal family from Egerton. My uncles, Jack Jarvis and Basil Jarvis, trained [Derby winners] Blue Peter and Papyrus, and Jack was given a knighthood for services to racing. My great-grandfather was a trainer and so, I'm pretty sure, was my great-great-grandfather. From the 1880s there has been a Jarvis training in Newmarket.”

Sir Jack Jarvis, one of three sons of William Arthur Jarvis to train a British Classic winner, was indeed the first racehorse trainer to be knighted by the late Queen in 1967. A history of some of Newmarket's most famous training yards would doubtless unearth that a member of the Jarvis family had trained there at some stage, with Palace House, Park Lodge, Egerton House, Hackness Villa, Green Lodge and La Grange all included on that list, along with the now-defunct Waterwitch House and Warren House 

Jarvis added, “My father trained at Clarehaven for a while, after the war until 1952 when he bought Phantom House.”

While the conclusion of this season will bring about an end to his participation from Phantom House, he will remain in situ with plans to rent out the stables to Dylan Cunha, who already rents the bottom yard. 

“I have a young grandson now but it's not going to be pipe and slippers,” he said. “I need to find something to keep the adrenaline going. That's the thing about our industry, every day there's something to get the adrenaline going. It's not really a job, it's 24/7 and you have to overcome a lot of things as a racehorse trainer, but it's also a wonderful way of life and I've loved it.

“Newmarket is unique and long may it last. We've had a great time. I've had some wonderful staff over the years and I've trained for some wonderful people.

“It is sad, of course it is, but having said that I'm happy, I'm relieved, and I've had a wonderful career – well, I've enjoyed it, I don't know if other people have.”

Anyone who was present at Glorious Goodwood two years ago when Lady Bowthorpe won the Nassau S. for Emma Banks would have heard and seen how much “other people” truly enjoyed a Group 1 winner trained by the eminent and popular William Jarvis.

“That meant a lot,” he recalled. “It was very humbling.”

Niarchos Restructuring

The Niarchos family's racing manager Alan Cooper was keen to stress that the sale of a significant number of the operation's mares at Goffs in November represents a restructuring of the breeding empire rather than a dispersal, but it was nevertheless a startling press release to receive. 

From three different consignors – Baroda Stud, Kiltinan Castle Stud and Norelands – 44 mares will be offered for sale, including the four-time Group 1 winner and Irish 1,000 Guineas heroine Alpha Centauri (Ire) (Mastercraftsman {Ire}) and her half-sister Alpine Star (Ire) (Sea The Moon {Ger}), who emulated her sibling by winning the G1 Coronation S. at Royal Ascot. The sisters are offered in foal to Sea The Stars (Ire) and Frankel (GB) respectively, and a full list of the mares being consigned, along with their covering sires, can be found here. 

“The family will have the opportunity to set reserves on the stock as they see fit,”  Cooper told TDN's Brian Sheerin. “The racing stables will continue to be supported by foals, yearlings, two-year-olds and older horses that are already in the system.”
Such a reassurance was music to the ears of anyone who has followed racing over a number of decades with a keen eye on the pedigrees of the top horses, for a Niarchos influence is never far from the winner's circle. The chance to buy into some of the family's best bloodstock presents an extremely rare opportunity that will draw breeders from across the globe to Goffs' Kildare Paddocks.

Sleepy in Name Only

Just in case you were in danger of thinking that Quickthorn (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}) was the star of the show at Hughie Morrison's stable, up jumped the redoubtable 11-year-old Not So Sleepy (GB) (Beat Hollow {GB}) to remind us all that there's plenty of life in the old boy yet. 

The two horses both race for their breeders Lord and Lady Blyth and, though unrelated, have a similar way of going: jump out smartly and try to make all. This was indeed the method of Not So Sleepy's latest win in the Dubai Duty Free Autumn Cup at Newbury on Saturday, which was his fifth on the Flat, his first having come on his debut nine years ago at Nottingham. Since those days, he has also won the Listed Dee S. and has been Group 3-placed but has enjoyed even greater success over hurdles. The peak of his five National Hunt wins came when he dead-heated with champion hurdler Epatante (Fr) in the G1 Fighting Fifth in 2021. 

Not So Sleepy had not raced since his fifth-place finish in the Champion Hurdle in March, and he may yet head to the Cesarewitch before returning to hurdles.

Ittlingen Strikes Again

For the second weekend running, the colours of breeder Gestut Ittlingen returned to the winner's enclosure after a group race, each time borne by the offspring of the late Adlerflug (Ger). The previous weekend had seen victory for Lordano (Ger) in the G3 Deutsches St Leger, which was followed seven days later for victory in the G1 Grosser Preis von Europa for the mare India (Ger), who is both pretty and pretty talented. 

The five-year-old, trained by Waldemar Hickst, became the eighth Group 1 winner for Adlerflug, and it is worth reflecting in this week that his success is not restricted to Germany, as his son Torquator Tasso (Ger) won the Arc two years ago, 12 months after another, the Deutsches Derby winner In Swoop (Ger), had finished second. Another son, Alenquer (Fr), won last year's G1 Tattersalls Gold Cup in Ireland. For a stallion that has only had 272 runners to date, and not that many more to come, a ratio of 10.7% stakes winners to runners reads well.

Italian Flavour to Japanese Success

The Irish Oaks winner and Arc runner-up Sea Of Class (Ire) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) was arguably the best known of the offspring of Holy Moon (Ire) (Hernando {Fr}) on the international stage, but the mare also produced a trio of winners of the Oaks d'Italia.

The three – Charity Line (Ire) (Manduro {Ger}), Final Score (Ire) (Dylan Thomas {Ire}), and Cherry Collect (Ire) (Oratorio {Ire}) – were all bred by the Botti family's Razza del Velino and have all subsequently been sold to Japan for their broodmare careers.

The most successful in this secondary phase to date is Cherry Collect, whose three-year-old son Satono Glanz (Jpn) (Satono Diamond {Jpn}), bred by Katsumi Yoshida's Northern Farm, won Sunday's G2 Kobe Shimbun Hai, his second victory at that level. He is the mares's sixth winner from six consecutive foals to race, along with the Listed winner and Grade 2-placed Wakea (Jpn) (Heart's Cry {Jpn}) and Listed winner Diana Bright (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}). Charity Line has produced three winners from her three runners, while Final Score has also produced three winners to date.

The sisters will not be the only Italian Oaks winners to be gracing the paddocks at Northern Farm as Katsumi Yoshida also purchased this year's winner, Shavasana (Ire) (Gleneagles {Ire}) from her owner Mario Sansoni prior to her Classic success. She too was bred by Razza Del Velino and trained by Stefano Botti.

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