Paul Frederick Irvine Cole has been based at Whatcombe Racing Stables, in Wantage, Oxfordhire since 1987. Whatcombe is, in fact, one of the largest, and oldest, training facilities in the country, having previous been occupied by Richard Cecil ‘Dick’ Dawson and Arthur Budgett, who won the trainers’ championship four times between them. In 1984, late Prince Fahd bin Salman – the son-in-law of Prince Khalid bin Abdullah who died, prematurely, aged 47, from a suspected heart attack in Riyadh in 2001 – bought Whatcombe and, under his patronage, Cole enjoyed the ‘golden age’ of his training career.
Cole won the trainers’ title just once, in 1991, but enjoyed an unforgettable summer courtesy of Generous, whom he’d bought as a two-year-old on behalf of Prince Fahd. Having sprung a surprise when winning the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket at 50/1, under Richard Quinn, on his final start as juvenile, Generous reappeared in the 2,000 Guineas, in which he finished a respectable fourth of 14, beaten 8¾ lengths, behind Mystiko.
However, as a son of Caerleon, and a grandson of Nijinksy, it was over middle-distances that Generous came into his own. On his next three starts, ridden by new jockey Alan Munro, he carried the dark green racing silks of Prince Fahd to victory in the Derby, by 5 lengths, the Irish Derby, by 3 lengths, and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, by 7 lengths.
He couldn’t provide a fairytale ending to his career, finishing unplaced behind Suave Dancer – whom he’d beaten in the Irish Derby – in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, but nevertheless finished his three-year-old campaign with a Timeform Annual Rating of 139, making him one of the truly great horses of the Timeform era. Cole later said that he was ‘very lucky’ to have had Generous and there is no doubt that the horse propelled him to the top of his profession.
The same season, Cole also saddled Culture Vulture, who was awarded the Fillies’ Mile at Ascot on the disqualification of Midnight Air, trained by Henry Cecil and Ruby Tiger, winner of the Nassau Stakes at Glorious Goodwood. All told, he saddled 72 winners on British soil in 1991 and took the trainers’ title with £1.52 million in prize money.