Where Are They Now: Guy Landau - Precocious rider now succeeding as show trainer; Grand National 'nearly man' who tasted early success in the saddle enjoying life in another equine sphere.
Then: Jockey, mainly jumping, 1983-94
Now: Runs a showing yard in Somerset
High: Riding third-placed Lean Ar Aghaidh in the 1987 Grand National
Low: A bad fall and the deaths of his best riding friend and his stepfather all occurring in the same month
Having decided "at the age of five or six that I was going to be a jockey", Guy Landau wasted no time in fulfiling that prophecy. At the age of 11, he was breaking in yearlings which were going to be trained by Guy Harwood and Ryan Price. When he was 15, he rode his first winner in a point-to-point on Mr Batnac-who was only a year younger than his jockey. And he rode his first winner under Rules when only 16.
In 1987, he came very close to being one of the youngest jockeys to ride the winner of the Grand National-Lean
Ar Aghaidh led over the last only to be passed on the
run-in by Maori Venture
and The Tsarevich.
Never one to hang around, by the time he was 22, he was leading jump jockey in France on a prize-money basis-and by the age of 27 he had retired from racing.
Not that he has lost interest in the sport, and he still has a professional link with horses through the showing yard he runs in Somerset, following a recent move from Sussex.
"With the move from Sussex, this winter has been a bit of a non-entity as far as racing and hunting [his two big loves] are concerned," Landau says. "But I go racing every now and then, and on Saturday afternoons I sit in front of the television and watch the action."
Landau's involvement with horses stemmed from childhood, when his mother married the celebrated Sussex horse-master Roy Trigg. Success in the show ring followed, particularly on a pony called Cuckoo, who is still going at the age of 32.
"I started riding out for Guy [Harwood] when I was 11 or 12, so it seemed a natural progression to be apprenticed there, and my first winner was for him on a Sheikh Mohammed horse called Bahnor."
Eventually Landau put on a bit of weight and switched codes to Stan Mellor's jumps yard, a move which climaxed with that memorable third in the Grand National and victory in the Whitbread Gold Cup, also on Lean Ar Aghaidh.
A couple of seasons later Landau went to France. "I had a great time there for six years," he recalls. "For the last five years I was in Paris riding for Jean-Pierre Gallorini, who was champion trainer many times.
"It is hard to be champion jockey in terms of races won if you are riding in Paris, but I was twice top money-earning jockey. My best year was when I rode 52 winners, and I think the champion jockey rode about 70."
Then, in 1994, a series of unfortunate events persuaded Landau that his riding days were over. "I had a bad fall and cracked three vertebrae, just about a week after Roger Duchene, who was a great friend and a lovely man, was killed in a fall at Auteuil. Not long after, my stepfather died.
"So my mother was running the yard and I said I would come over and help her. She then sold the house and I bought a place at the other end of Wisborough Green and set up there."
The decision to move west, which came last November, was greatly influenced by the fact that property in Sussex had become too expensive.
Landau says: "I have a
30-acre place, which I would never have been able to afford in Sussex.
"I have 15 horses in at the moment and 16 boxes. The majority are show hunters and I still have horses for John Dunlop and Carolyn Elwes. I have the occasional resting racehorse, and there is always a young horse or two about the place."
Guy Landau - Retired from riding at 27
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|Publication:||The Racing Post (London, England)|
|Date:||Feb 21, 2001|
|Next Article:||Topspeed: Clockwatch.|