Ivor Herbert, Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning trainer, journalist and author of books based around the Turf – obituary


He also trained horses for the Weinstock and Sobell families, but Linwell would be his most spectacular success. His other Cheltenham winners included Flame Gun (the Cotswold Chase) and Gallery Goddess (Cathcart Cup).

Edward Ivor Montgomery Herbert was born on August 20 1925 in South Africa, where his British father, Teddy, was working as an engineer. When Ivor was still a small child Teddy and his South African wife, Sybil, moved to England. Teddy Herbert had been awarded the Croix de Guerre in the First World War and later became chairman of the aerospace company Short Bros & Harland and a director of the Midland Bank; he was knighted for services to industry in 1951.

Ivor was brought up first in London, then in Leicestershire, where he absorbed his mother’s love of horses, riding in point-to-points (twice breaking his neck) and hunting with the Quorn. His time at Eton was interrupted by the war, and in 1943 he joined the Coldstream Guards. Capt Herbert rolled into Kiel in a tank 48 hours before VE-day, then had a spell working in Intelligence, helping to debrief the enemy – an experience he would draw on later for his first novel, a spy thriller called Eastern Windows, published in 1953.

On coming down from Trinity College, Cambridge, having read Economics and English, he was encouraged by his father to seek a future in investment banking, and he briefly obliged at the Charterhouse Bank; but when the chairman, Sir Nutcombe Hume, called him into his office and said “Ivor, in 40 years’ time you will be sitting in my chair” he decided that he “couldn’t think of anything worse” and vowed to concentrate on his twin passions, training racehorses and writing. That he managed to do both simultaneously, and successfully, for the best part of 20 years was a tribute to his determination and sense of adventure.



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