Top Horse Racing Trainers – Best* Trainers to Watch
There is a big difference between the best* horse racing trainers and those who find themselves racking up 20 winners a season. Obviously, a big factor of how well a trainer does is the horses available to them, but to attract the best you need to be the best at your craft.
Below is a list of 12 of the best* current-day trainers worldwide with reasons why they have made the shortlist.
John Gosden OBE
Regularly the top trainer in Britain, John Gosden OBE has progressed up the training ranks and has sent out over 3,000 winners worldwide, including 600 in the United States. With over 100 Group 1 winners to his name, Gosden’s training talents have never been in question and he is maybe most famous for training Enable.
He is the only trainer in history whose horses have won the Cartier Champion Three-Year-Old Colt, Cartier Champion Three-Year-Old Filly and Cartier Horse Of The Year awards in the same year.
The most successful trainer in Ireland, Aidan O’Brien has trained at Ballydoyle since 1996 and has the backing of the most successful team of owners – Derrick Smith, Michael Tabor and John Magnier – in the world. With the best* stallion, Galileo, at his mercy thanks to Coolmore Stud, O’Brien has the luxury of the best-bred horses and often plunders Group 1s around the globe.
His horses come into their own mid-summer and O’Brien will undoubtedly rack up an abundance of Group victories once again this year.
Saeed bin Suroor
Saeed bin Suroor took out his training license in 1993 and hasn’t looked back, leading the Godolphin operation from 1994 and recording numerous top-level successes across the world. Known for his capabilities in Dubai, where he has landed the richest race in the world until recently – the Dubai World Cup – on nine separate occasions.
Bin Suroor’s stock has decreased in recent years thanks to the emergence of Charlie Appleby, but he still has a number of expensive purchases in his yard.
Paul Nicholls OBE
The leading jumps trainer of his generation, Paul Nicholls OBE regularly features at the head of the top trainer standings and has won the title on 11 occasions. The 57-year-old is most famous for his victories with Denman, Kauto Star and Master Minded, but has a brilliant record with his chasers, especially those who were originally bought from France.
Nicholls had an overhaul a couple of seasons ago and now has a young, talented team who could dominate for years to come.
A young trainer who has taken America by storm in the last couple of years, mainly on the turf where he has used his purchasing prowess to buy a number of ex-European-trained types who have proved incredibly successful stateside.
Winner of the Eclipse Award in 2016, 2017 and 2018, Brown has also won the Preakness Stakes and 12 Breeders’ Cup contests. Sistercharlie is his main charge but he has a huge barn and an array of superstar thoroughbreds.
Seven-time winner of the Eclipse award in the United States, Todd Pletcher has dominated the American scene for a number of years and has recorded well over 4,000 career winners. Two Kentucky Derby successes and three wins in the Belmont Stakes make up an impressive Triple Crown resume along with ten Breeders’ Cup victories.
Pletcher has the backing of many of the biggest owners in the world, including Mike Repole and Michael Tabor, and will continue to fire countless winners over the coming seasons.
Andre Fabre is reaching the end of his training career, but the 75-year-old is a hero in the sport thanks to 24 top trainer titles in France. Fabre remains as prolific as ever and trains one of the most hyped three-year-olds in training – Earthlight. Fabre has recorded major wins in France, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, UAE and the US and is showing no signs of stopping just yet.
Australian-born trainer who has gone from strength-to-strength since moving to Hong Kong, and now often dominates the biggest races in the province thanks to a seriously strong group of horses.
Size has a reputation for improving and rekindling the spark in some horses and is equally good with foreign imports as he is with recently-bought local runners. Thanks to good partnerships with Joao Moreira and Zac Purton, Size’s horses are always worth following at Sha Tin and Happy Valley.
A relatively young trainer at the age of 47, Chris Waller is one of the most famous and successful trainers in Australia thanks to his wondermare Winx. He has already been inducted into the New Zealand and Australia Halls Of Fame and Winx notched 25 Group 1 successes by herself.
Waller is profitable with his young horses and has the support of some of the top southern hemisphere owners. Keep a close eye on his runners in the coming years.
What percentage of prize money do trainers get?
Trainers get just under ten per cent of winning prize money and just under six per cent of placed prize money. Racehorse trainers can amass a lot of prize money over the year but costs are high and unless you are a top trainer, it isn’t always easy to make a profit.
Who is the richest horse trainer?
The top horse trainer in 2019 in Britain was John Gosden, who earned just over £8.5million in prize money last year. However, in the US, Chad Brown’s runners amassed a total of over $31m in 2019. Steve Asmussen wasn’t far behind with $27m to his name last year.
Do jockeys ride the same horses?
Jockeys are either attached to owners, trainers or are freelance. Those who are attached to owners or trainers are more likely to ride the same horses on multiple occasions, and it is quite common that they do so. The chemistry between a rider and horse is invaluable.
How many racehorse trainers are there in the UK?
There were 575 individual trainers who had runners on the Flat in Great Britain last year, although some of those aren’t situated here.
Who is the best* horse racing trainer?
John Gosden and Aidan O’Brien have dominated the prize-money standings on the Flat in Britain for the last few years, while Nicky Henderson, Paul Nicholls, Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott are the standouts over jumps.
Other trainers with top-level successes across the world include Andre Fabre, Chad Brown, Todd Pletcher, Steve Asmussen, Chris Waller and Charlie Appleby.
Who is the highest-paid jockey?
Looking at jockey and trainer stats, the highest-paid jockey in Britain last year was Frankie Dettori, who won £7.35million total prize money.
How much does the horse trainer win?
A trainer takes a ten per cent cut of winning prize money and six per cent of placed prize money.
What trainer has won the most Kentucky Derbys?
Ben Jones is the most successful trainer in Kentucky Derby history. He won the race six times between 1938 and 1952.
*Best is only based on the opinions of our writers and does not constitute professional advice or recommendation.