Michael Dickinson, the trainer responsible for the first five horses home in the 1983 Cheltenham Gold Cup, has retired.
The 57-year-old, who has been based in Maryland in the United States since 1987, plans to concentrate on his Tapeta racing surface, which has been used on several racecourses in America and at the Al Quoz training centre in Dubai.
Dickinson was champion amateur national hunt jockey before turning his attention to training in 1980. Regarded as a perfectionist, he won the jumps trainers’ championship three times in just four seasons, and sent out 12 winners on Boxing Day 1982. But his place in the record books was cemented in March 1983, when Bregawn, Captain John, Wayward Lad, Silver Buck and Ashley House followed each other home at Cheltenham.
He then accepted Robert Sangster’s offer to train for him at Manton on a new, purpose-built, no-expenses-spared training facility, and great things were expected. But it did not work, and the pair parted company after a disastrous first season. He then went to America and continued to train on the flat.
His biggest successes were Da Hoss’s two Breeders’ Cup Mile wins in 1996 and 1998.
But Michael Dickinson, the man known as the “mad genius”, will always be best remembered for his Cheltenham feat, which earned him a Guinness Book of Records entry and was voted the Racing Post’s greatest training feat of all time.