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Michael Jarvis - At Newbury May 2005

Michael Jarvis: major wins included Carroll House in the 1989 Arc

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

'Inspirational' Michael Jarvis dies aged 73

MICHAEL JARVIS, one of Flat racing's longest-serving and most respected trainers until his retirement in February, died at the age of 73 on Tuesday.

Jarvis enjoyed an illustrious time in the sport and was responsible for a string of top-class performers - most notably Arc winner Carroll House, multiple Group 1 winner Rakti and Classic-winning fillies Ameerat and Eswarah.

His health had suffered in recent years and he underwent heart surgery and was treated for prostate cancer before handing over the reins at Kremlin House stables to his assistant Roger Varian.

Roger Varian

Paying tribute: Roger Varian

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker  

Varian said on Tuesday: "He was a wonderful man, an inspiration not just to me, but to a lot of people, and I think his training exploits go without saying. Everyone knows what a good racehorse trainer he was.

"I think he was first and foremost a husband and a father and a family man and a great friend to me."

Despite starting out as a jump jockey, Jarvis quickly decided his future lay in working with horses, rather than riding, and he served as head groom to both Towser Gosden and Gordon Smyth before being given the chance to train by television rentals tycoon David Robinson, who brought him to Newmarket in 1968. 

He immediately made his mark, saddling So Blessed to win both the July Cup and Nunthorpe Stakes and also winning the Richmond Stakes with Tudor Music and the Lowther Stakes with Flying Legs in his first campaign.

The following year Tudor Music won the Haydock Sprint Cup - a race Jarvis also landed with Green God (1971) and Petong (1984) - and numerous other Group 1 winners followed both in Britain and abroad where he was among the pioneers in targeting major races in France, Germany and Italy.

He also proved himself highly adept at preparing his charges for prestigious handicaps, twice winnig the Ebor, Northumberland Plate, Wokingham, Chester Cup and Victoria Cup, together with the Bunbury Cup on four occasions. 

Jarvis won the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe with Carroll House in 1989 and the Prix du Jockey Club with Holding Court in 2000, before opening his domestic Classic account in 2001 with Ameerat.

By then Jarvis's stature as a trainer was firmly established, and that reputation was further cemented when Eswarah won the 2005 Oaks at Epsom.

Rakti's roll of honour included the 2003 Champion Stakes, 2004 Prince of Wales's Stakes and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes,and 2005 Lockinge Stakes.

Towards the end of Jarvis's career, failing health caused mobility problems and he preferred to stay at home rather than go racing, but the yard continued to conquer new heights, sending out more than 100 winners for the first time in 2008, when it also passed £1 million in prize-money. Last year he trained 86 winners.

In an interview with the Racing Post this year, Jarvis recalled the Sheikh Ahmed al Maktoum-owned Ameerat's win in the 1,000 Guineas in 2001 as his fondest racing memory.

"It was on home ground here in Newmarket and it was my first Classic, but it was also for my best client," he said. "I later trained horses for the other Maktoumbrothers, but Sheikh Ahmed was my mainstay."

Jarvis is survived by his wife Gay and three daughters Jackie, Sarah and Lisa.

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