Richard Dunwoody MBE

Richard Dunwoody MBE

Richard Dunwoody was bred into the Sport of Kings. His father George rode and trained many winners in his native Ireland, while his grandfather Dick Thrale also trained at Epsom. Amongst his many successes, he sent out Indigenous to win at his local course under Lester Piggott in 1960. The horse still holds the world record he set that day for five furlongs.

After the family moved to Newmarket, Richard rode out for Paul Kelleway from the age of 12 until, after leaving school in 1981, he joined Tim Forster’s yard at Letcombe Bassett in Oxfordshire. As an amateur jockey, he rode his first winner on Game Trust at Cheltenham in May 1983, and the following spring rode a four timer at Hereford as a 7lb claimer. He turned professional at the start of the 1984-85 season and found himself partnering the favourite of the Grand National, West Tip, nine months later.

They parted company at Beechers Brook, the 22nd fence, when travelling ominously well, but were able to atone for that mishap when winning the National twelve months later. Richard also became stable jockey to the late David Nicholson, “The Duke” in 1986. It was the start of an extremely successful partnership; numerous big race wins were crowned by Charter Party taking the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1988.

Success was also to follow on the Michael Stoute trained Kribensis in the Champion Hurdle in 1990, the season he took the ride on the great Desert Orchid. The partnership won seven races including two King George VI Chases and an Irish Grand National.

Richard became Champion Jockey for the first time in 1993 and that coincided with a move to Champion Trainer, Martin Pipe. He retained the championship twice more and landed a second Grand National when partnering Martin’s Miinnehoma in 1994.

Turning freelance in 1995 Richard continued to ride for many of the leading yards in England and Ireland, including those of Dermot Weld, Edward O’Grady, Willie Mullins, Phillip Hobbs, Paul Nicholls, Jenny Pitman and Gordon Richards. He rode One Man to win two more King George’s at Kempton and won the Hennessey Gold Cup at Leopardstown on both Dorans Pride and Florida Pearl. An injury to his neck forced Richard’s retirement in 1999 having clocked up almost 1,900 winners worldwide and having surpassed Peter Scudamore’s record for all time jumps wins.

Richard has undertaken various expeditions since hanging up his boots, including a 350-mile cross-country ski race to the Magnetic North Pole. In the past couple of years he has worked as a consultant for the Stow based trainer Richard Phillips and the British Racing School at Newmarket, where he coaches young and up and coming jockeys.


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