Michael Dods : Racehorse Trainer

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Dods describes passing of Geoff Turnbull as 'huge loss for northern racing'

TRAINER Michael Dods has paid a warm tribute to one of the leading figures in the northern racing scene, Geoff Turnbull MBE, who has died after a battle against illness, aged 74.

Mr Turnbull, a miner’s son, was Chief Executive Officer of the highly successful Elwick Stud, near Hartlepool, and sent horses to be trained at Denton Hall for many years.

Michael Dods said: “Geoff was a great supporter of northern racing and a friend of our stable for many years. He was passionate about everything he did and will be a huge loss to northern racing. Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time.”

Mr Turnbull and his wife, Sandra, currently have a number of horses in training with Michael Dods Racing, including: Queens Gift (pictured below), Royal Context and Excel and Succeed.

Elwick Stud issued the following statement this morning: "Elwick is deeply saddened by the passing of our much-loved CEO Geoff Turnbull MBE after a short battle with illness.

"Black armbands will be worn during racing today as a mark of respect for Mr Turnbull, who was a great ambassador for northern racing. We ask that the privacy of his family is respected at this very difficult time."

Among the highlights of his time as an owner were winning the 2019 Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot with Lord Glitters, trained by David O’Meara.

Mondialiste, also trained by O’Meara, won the Woodbine Mile, in Canada, in 2015, and the Arlington Million the following year. He went on to stand as a stallion at Elwick.

Mr Turnbull’s lifelong love of his horses was inspired by his father, who was head pony keeper at Horden Colliery, in County Durham, and he vowed that one day he would own a racehorse.

He started out as an apprentice toolmaker at 15 and went on to become a successful industrialist, founding the GT Group.

He bought his first racehorse for Sandra in the form of La Sylphide, who raced between 2000 and 2004, and became the first brood mare at Elwick. The breeding operation was later moved to nearby Sheraton Farm and the operation now looks after 80 horses, including 35 brood mares.

Mr Turnbull once told The Racing Post: “There are ambitions not just to build one of the biggest studs in the world but one of the best.”

Jockey Paul Mulrennan said on Twitter: “I’m so saddened to hear the news Geoff Turnbull sadly passed away I had the pleasure of wearing his colours to victory on many occasions he was a true gentleman and a huge advocate for racing he will be sadly missed I send sincere condolences to his family at this sad time.”