Bernard van Cutsem

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Bernard van Cutsem
Born 23 January 1916
United Kingdom
Died 8 December 1975(1975-12-08) (aged 59)
Major racing wins
British Classic Race wins as trainer:
2000 Guineas (1)
Significant horses
Park Top, Karabas, High Top, Crowned Prince, Sharpen Up, Noble Decree

Bernard Henry Richard Harcourt van Cutsem (23 January 1916 – 8 December 1975) was an English horsebreeder and racehorse trainer.


Early life[edit]

Bernard Henry Richard Harcourt van Cutsem was born on 23 January 1916.[1][2][3] His father was Henry Harcourt van Cutsem (1877–1917) and his mother, Eleanor Mary Josephine Southwell Trafford.[1] The van Cutsem family were Roman Catholics of Flemish origin who immigrated to England in the nineteenth century.[4] Van Cutsem attended Cambridge University and served as an officer in the Life Guards during the Second World War.[3]


Van Cutsem bred horses at Northmore Farm in Exning, near Newmarket, Suffolk, widely known as the birthplace and global centre of thoroughbred horse racing.[4] He became a millionaire, thanks to his training and breeding of champion horses.[4] For example, he trained High Top (1969–1988), Park Top and Sharpen Up (1969–1992). Moreover, he trained the winner of the Washington, D.C. International Stakes, the City and Suburban Handicap and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes in 1969. Additionally, he trained the winners of the Blue Riband Trial in 1970, 1971 and 1972. He also trained the winner of the Dewhurst Stakes and the Seaton Delaval Stakes in 1971, the winners of the Observer Gold Cup in 1971 and 1972, and the winner of the 2,000 Guineas Stakes in 1972.

The Superlative Stakes was previously known as the Bernard van Cutsem Stakes in his honor.

Personal life[edit]

Bernard van Cutsem married Mary Compton (born 1919), daughter of Major Edward Robert Francis Compton (1891–1977) and Sylvia Farquharson of Invercauld (1899–1950), on 28 September 1939.[1] They had two sons:

They divorced, and he married Lady Margaret Fortescue (1923–2013), daughter of Hugh Fortescue, 5th Earl Fortescue (1888–1958) and Hon. Margaret Helen Beaumont (1892–1948).[1] They had two daughters:

Bernard Van Cutsem died on 8 December 1975 at Westminster Hospital.[1][3] He was 59 years old.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i The Peerage: Bernard Henry Richard van Cutsem
  2. ^ National Portrait Gallery
  3. ^ a b c Mortimer, Roger; Onslow, Richard; Willett, Peter (1978). Biographical Encyclopedia of British Flat Racing. Macdonald and Jane’s. ISBN 0-354-08536-0. 
  4. ^ a b c Hugh van Cutsem, The Daily Telegraph, September 03, 2013