Nowadays, Clive Cox is best known as a Group One-winning trainer based at Beechwood Stables in Lambourn, Berkshire, to which he moved in May, 2000. However, his career in racing began, as a scrawny teenager, when he became apprentice jockey to Peter Cundell, based in the village of Compton on the Berkshire Downs, in the early Eighties. That said, his career as a Flat jockey did not last long and yielded just two winners, one in 1981 and another in 1982, before his burgeoning weight forced him to review his options.
The enforced switch to National Hunt racing did his riding career no harm. After a brief, but successful, spell as conditional jockey to Somerset trainer Stuart Pattermore, Cox returned to Lambourn and joined then-fledgling handler Oliver Sherwood in a similar capacity. He won on his first ride for his new employer, Sacred Path, at Warwick in November, 1984.
Just over three years later, in April, 1988, Sacred Path would also provide Cox with his one and only ride in the Grand National. A confirmed mudlark, Sacred Path had returned from over a year off the course, due to injury, to win the Crudwell Challenge Cup at Warwick in March. Saddled with the minimum weight of ten stone at Aintree and with conditions turning in his favour, after a torrential downpour, Sacred Path was the subject of a public gamble, which forced his price down from 14/1 to 17/2 favourite at the ‘off’. Sadly, while the eight-year-old jumped the first fence well enough, he crumpled on landing and fell.
All told, Cox rode just shy of a hundred winners and recorded his highest seasonal tally, 33, in the 1985/86 season. Indeed, in 1985 he won the Frogmore Chase at Ascot on Admiral’s Cup, trained by Fred Winter and, in 1986, the Mares Hurdle at Newbury on Atrabates, trained by Oliver Sherwood. Nevertheless, by 1988, his riding career was already in sharp decline and by the time he rode his last winner, at Newton Abbott in March, 1990, he had already taken out a public training licence.