Oliver Sherwood: Grand National winner to end training and become assistant to Harry Derham

Grand National winner Oliver Sherwood is bringing an end to his long and successful training career to take up a role as assistant to Harry Derham.

Sherwood, whose crowning glory came when he saddled Many Clouds to a famous victory at Aintree in 2015, sent out his first winner in 1984, amassing just shy of 1,200 winners in total.

The 68-year-old says a number of factors, including “dwindling numbers” has led to his decision, while he also pointed to recent health struggles.

He joins Derham’s exciting new team after Paul Nicholls’ former assistant set out on his own last year, recording an impressive 14 winners for 57 runners in the 2022/23 campaign at a strike rate of 25 per cent.

Sherwood told the Nick Luck Daily Podcast: “I’m going to hand my license in probably around July time and I’m going to go and help Harry Derham, who has obviously just finished his first very successful season, as assistant there and hopefully taking most of the horses that I’ve got here over to him.

“It’s a combination of a whole heap of things, dwindling numbers is the main thing but obviously health things from 18 months ago and losing a very dear friend of mine, Richard Aston of Goldford Stud, who got diagnosed literally in February and died three months later—that hit me for six.

“It’s a very tough decision but in a few months’ time I’m sure it’ll be the right decision.

Many Clouds wins the 2015 Grand National under jockey Leighton Aspell
Many Clouds wins the 2015 Grand National under jockey Leighton Aspell

“Horses have been my life so I’ve got to stay with horses, the only difference is that it’s not going to be ‘O Sherwood – trainer’ but I’m going to a very young and hungry person, we know the family very much well and I’m really looking forward to the next chapter in one’s life.

“The one thing I did want to say was that having the illness and with Richard passing, and the dwindling numbers, that this time next year I’ll be saying I’m 70 next year – I’m 68 and a bit now – and I don’t want to get to 80 and suddenly your life’s gone by and all I’ve done is train racehorses.

“As much as I’ve loved every single minute of it, you’ve got to realize that life goes by very quickly and our son lives out in New Zealand and I want to go out to see him, and there are other things I want to do before it’s too late to do it.”

Sherwood celebrates at Aintree after Many Cloud's Grand National victory
Sherwood celebrates at Aintree after Many Cloud’s Grand National victory

Sherwood’s last graded winner came with Many Clouds in the 2017 Cotswold Chase, a race remembered for the tragic passing of the winner shortly after crossing the finish line.

Sherwood trained six Cheltenham Festival winners, his first coming back in 1987 with The West Awake in the Sun Alliance Novices’ Hurdle.