By Emma Berry
Look up the race records of Enable (GB), Stradivarius (Ire), Cracksman (GB), Jack Hobbs (GB) and Without Parole (GB) and you’ll find that, bar the fact that they are all Group 1 winners to have been trained by John Gosden, they have something else in common. These top horses, along with plenty of others in the stable, were all ridden to victory on their debuts by Robert Havlin, better known simply as ‘Rab.’ The Scotsman is the epitome of the loyal second jockey.
With his humility and the fact that he is often out of the limelight on racing’s bigger days, it would be easy to overlook Havlin, but that would be folly. For the last two decades he has been a key cog in the wheel which keeps turning the champion trainer’s significant operation to a higher level, first at Manton and, for the last 14 years, at Clarehaven in Newmarket. Simply, Havlin would not enjoy the important role he hasin Britain’s most successful yard were it not for his work ethic and ability. And enjoy it is exactly what he does. “Sometimes you have to pinch yourself really. It’s an exciting place to work,” he says with a refreshing sense of wide-eyed wonder even well into his 40s and in the depths of winter.