Charles Guest, former jockey, trainer, and much-loved patriach dies aged 92
Charles Guest, former jockey, trainer, and much-loved patriach of a popular racing family, has died aged 92.
One of eight children Charlie, as he was known, was the elder brother of jockey Joe, and jockey, and trainer, Nelson. All three had a reputation of being fearless riders over fences.
His racing life had begun as an apprentice to Captain Laye at Ogbourne Maizey, just outside Marlborough, and he rode his first winner in April 1952. He went on to ride winners for trainers such as Towser Gosden, father of champion Flat trainer John Gosden, and Bob Turnell.
He felt his best winner as a jockey was provided by Rose Chancellor in the Shakespeare Chase at Stratford. But the success most remembered by his children when they were young came on Belsay Castle at Kempton as their father owned a 78rpm record of the race with commentary from Sir Peter O’Sullevan which apparently he almost wore out.
After calling time on his career as a jump jockey, Charlie trained in Belgium, England, and Holland where he sent out the winner of the Dutch Triple Crown ridden by his son Rae.
He and his late wife Joyce had six children – the aforementioned Rae, now a successful trainer in Newmarket, Richard who rode Red Marauder to win the 2001 Grand National before taking up training, Jane, widow of training legend Sir Henry Cecil, former work and amateur rider Sally, Rita, and Joanne.
A colourful character, he was a much-liked member of Newmarket’s racing and wider community and would often regale visitors with tales of his life in racing while enjoying a coffee in The Pantry, the Newmarket restaurant run by his granddaughter, Anne-Marie and her husband.
To mark his 80th birthday, a race was run at Newmarket in his honour and Sir Henry wrote a special tribute, part of which read: “Drive down Newmarket High Street at around midday and you may just see Charlie.
“There will be a group of friends, listening to words of wisdom from the lips of a small man always sporting a flat cap and a scarf around his neck. He’ll be there too at both Yarmouth and Newmarket races, probably wearing a pink shirt, Versace tie and a bright yellow sweater.
“He is a very young man at heart and for his age,” said Sir Henry. “He has a great sense of humour and loves life. His secret, I feel, is that mentally he has never grown up.”
A former resident of Childwick House in Newmarket, Charlie had been living at the Mildenhall Lodge care home where he died on Thursday, February 11. Lady Cecil said his family had been overwhelmed by the messages of love, and fond memories, mostly amusing, they had received.
A service of thanksgiving for his life will take place at Newmarket’s All Saints’ Church on Tuesday, March 2, and he will be buried alongside his wife at Newmarket cemetery.
Friends who wish to pay their respects will have the opportunity to do so as the funeral cortege passes along the High Street heading towards the clock tower at around 1.20pm.
Charlie’s family is also planning to sponsor a race at Newmarket in his memory, once the public are allowed back which they hope will give his friends and family the opportunity to celebrate his