Robert is a great believer in communicating regularly with his owners. Frequent written reports about the horses, and many telephone calls are the order of the day here.
Robert Cowell, upon completion of his A levels at school in Norfolk, immediately began work in Newmarket for trainer Gavin Pritchard-Gordon. Whilst working there he was keen to ride in races so took out a licence and promptly rode a winner at Brighton on his second attempt.
Two seasons with David ‘the Duke’ Nicholson was invalueable experience and at a time when the great Charter Party and Waterloo Boy were victorious at the Cheltenham Festival. Robert then set sail across the channel to work as an assistant to John Hammond in France for 2 years at the time when Suave Dancer, Dear Doctor and Polar Falcon were among the stable stars. It was in France that he was able to live the dream which was to work in a highly respected yard with very good horses and also ride as an amateur. John gave him numerous opportunities but managed to get most beat! Robert recalls with a smile ‘yes, I finished 2nd most of the time beaten only the shortest of margins but Johns’ instructions were quite difficult for a novice, “don’t win too far!!”.’ The best story was a ride Robert was offered in the provences for owners Cheveley Park Stud. Click here to read the story – An extract from Marcus Armytage’s ‘Hot Cherry’.
In 1992 he then moved further afield to become an assistant to Neil Drysdale in America. It was here that he was proud to be part of the team when A.P.Indy and Hollywood Wildcat both won Breeders Cup races. After a brief spell as a trainer and considerable success in California, Robert decided to return to England as he had a larger group of owners willing to support him.
He is training at Bottisham Heath Stud, which provides an excellent privately owned base for Robert and his wife, Ghislaine, along with their son, Alex and daughter, Kara.
The yard is sponsored by Mr Malih Al Basti’s ‘AL BASTI EQUIWORLD’.
We have had some fantastic seasons over the last few years with plenty of highlights to talk about. However horses most notably to mention, PROHIBIT gaining us our first Group 1 winner in the 2011 Royal Ascot, Kings Stand Stakes. JWALA winning in great style in the Group 1, Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York in 2013. Having seen her through her entire career from a yearling this was particularly special. KINGSGATE NATIVE was a great success, producing some consistent performances in Group company, including landing the Group 2, Temple Stakes at Haydock Park and the Achilles Stakes at Haydock Park in 2015 at the grand old age of ten! He went on to land further victories and was retired to The British Racing School at the end of 2016. INTRINSIC won the always highly competitive Stewards Cup at Glorious Goodwood in August 2014 for us. He has since retired to stallion duties under the guidance of Hedgeholme Stud. GOLDREAM was a sensation in 2015, winning the Group3, Palace House Stakes at Newmarket in May. He then went on to win the Group 1, King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot and another Group 1 at Longchamp at the October Arc meeting, the Prix de L’Abbaye. It is exciting news that he returns to training with us for the 2017 season. He is another very special horse for us, not just for his Group successes but also having unearthed him at the horses in training sales a few seasons prior. It certainly appears that we have an affinity with OASIS DREAM progeny – PROHIBIT, JWALA, INTRINSIC, JUSTINEO and GOLDREAM – With any luck in 2017 we will add further names to this list! 2016 saw us have a wonderful Royal Ascot, securing two winners! OUTBACK TRAVELLER winning the Wokingham Stake and PRINCE OF LIR winning the Norfolk Stakes. A very special place to have a winner and one we strive to succeed at each year . . . Other exciting horses that we have enjoyed training and have had success over the last few seasons domestically in the UK and abroad at the highest levels have been, SPIRIT QUARTZ (Gr2), MONSIEUR JOE (Gr3), IFFRANESIA, LUI REI, FOREVER PHOENIX, BINIOU, CANADIAN DANEHILL and HIGH SPICE.
For the 2017 season, Robert will train around 75 horses. He is a great believer in communicating regularly with his owners to discuss daily training and future plans. Frequent written reports about the horses and many telephone calls are the order of the day here.
Bottisham Heath Stud is completely self-contained, peaceful, and provides a welcoming atmosphere for all owners, potential owners and their horses. It is ideally suited to keeping the horses happy and helping them to achieve their full potential, with Robert’s expertise of course!