Was the late John Dunlop ever champion trainer?
The late John Leeper Dunlop, who died at the age of 78 on July 7, 2018, after a long illness, was indeed champion trainer, just once, in 1995. That was the season in which Bahri, owned by the late Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum and ridden by Willie Carson, took an unconventional route, isolated on the far side, until the home turn to win the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot. However, Bahri was just one of 74 Group One winners, including 10 British Classic winners, that Dunlop saddled in a training career spanning six decades.
Dunlop took over the training licence at Castle Stables in Arundel, West Sussex in 1966 and by the time he retired, in 2012, had saddled over 3,500. He was closely associated with Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum for much of his career and notable winners in the famous blue-and-white silks included not only Bahri, but also Salsabil, who won the 1,000 Guineas, Oaks and Irish Derby in 1990
Erhaab, who won the Derby in 1994. At the time of his death, Dunlop was rightly described as
one of the great trainers of his generation and his racing legacy lives on through his sons, Ed and Harry, both of whom are Group One-winning trainers. Touchingly, at the time of writing, Ed Dunlop trains a promising 3-year-old Frankel colt named ‘John Leeper’ in homour of his late father.