Interestingly, Sir Michael Ronald Stoute received his knighthood, in 1998, in recognition of services, not to horse racing, but to tourism in his native country of Barbados. Nevertheless, Stoute has been training, in his own right, in Britain since 1972 and has been a fixture of British Flat racing since first thrust into the public eye by the record 10-length win of Shergar in the 1981 Derby. That was the first year he won the trainers’ title and he has since added nine more, most recently in 2009.
By his own admission, in recent years, he has lacked the firepower, or numbers, to compete with Ballydoyle or Godolphin for the trainers’ championship, but Stoute remains at the top of his profession. Indeed, in June, 2018, he became the most successful trainer, numerically, in the history of Royal Ascot, with 76 winners, after Poet’s Word beat Cracksman in the St. James’s Palace Stakes.
Aside from the ill-fated Shergar – who also won the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes in 1981, but was kidnapped from Ballymany Stud, Co. Kildare two years later and never seen again – highlights of his early title-winning seasons included his second Derby winner, Sharastani, in 1986. In 1989, Stoute won his first 1,000 Guineas with Musical Bliss, while Zilzal won four major races, including the Sussex Stakes and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.
Having won the trainers’ title again in 1994 and 1997, Stoute entered the new century in flying form, winning half a dozen domestic Group 1 races – including his fourth 2,000 Guineas with King’s Best – in 2000 to become Champion Trainer for the sixth time. Indeed, the Noughties proved to be a particularly lucrative period for the master of Freemason Lodge, with four more trainers’ titles in 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2009. During that period, he saddled his third and fourth Derby winners, Kris Kin in 2003 and North Light in 2004, finally laid his St. Leger hoodoo to rest, after 25 failed attempts, with Conduit in 2008 and achieved a remarkable 1-2-3 with Conduit, Tartan Bearer and Ask in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes in 2009.