AFTER 160 years, the spell of the “Wizard of the North” has been broken.

John Scott was the greatest racehorse trainer of his day, turning out a record 40 winners of classic races during his career. Most of them were trained at his yard at Malton, in Ryedale, and many of them were bred in Teesdale at the stud of John Bowes, the founder of the museum in Barnard Castle.

But last week, his record was eclipsed when trainer Aidan O’Brien clocked up his 41st classic winner when Tuesday, ridden by Ryan Moore, won the Epsom Oaks (the other classic races are the 2,000 Guineas and the 1,000 Guineas run at Newmarket, the Derby at Epsom and the St Leger at Doncaster).

The Northern Echo: Tuesday ridden by Ryan Moore earlier on this year - their win at Epson last week took Aidan O\'Brien past John Scott\'s record

Ryan Moore riding Tuesday earlier this year

The Northern Echo: A miniature watercolour painting of trainer John Scott, which was bought by the Bowes Museum in 2007

A miniature watercolour painting of trainer John Scott, which was bought by the Bowes Museum in 2007

Scott was born in Chippenham, near Newmarket, where his father was a trainer. John grew too heavy to be a jockey, so he followed his father, and began his career working for James Croft at a stables in Middleham where in 1815 he trained his first classic winner: Filho da Puta which won the St Leger (the horse’s name is Portuguese for “son of a bitch” because its owner discovered his wife was having an affair on the day he bought it).

In 1825, Scott bought the Whitewall stables at Malton and set up his own business, often with his younger brother, Bill, as his jockey – when sober, Bill was the best jockey of the day.

The Northern Echo: Streatlam Castle was between Barnard Castle and Staindrop. It was the home of John Bowes and should not be confused with Streetlam Castle between Danby Wiske and the Cowtons, which didn't exist

Bowes was one of Scott’s principal owners. As soon as Bowes came of age and inherited Streatlam castle (above), near Barnard Castle, he set up a stud, and Scott would visit every year to take the pick of the horses away to train. One of the first was Mundig – which meant “of age” – which won the 1835 Derby and winnings of £16,000 for Bowes (about £1.4m in today’s values, according to the Bank of England Inflation Calculator).

The Northern Echo: The new picture of Cotherstone, on the left, with another racehorse, Princess. Trainer John Scott, "the wizard of the north" is on the left. The scene is at Scott's Whitewall stables in Malton. Because of Coid restrictions, the picture has y

Cotherstone on the left rearing up before John Scott on a picture the Bowes Museum bought a couple of years ago

Scott also picked out Cotherstone, which became probably the best horse of the 1840s, which won the 1843 Derby when ridden by Bill – it was said that to keep him sober the night before the big race, he was put to bed with two women. That was clearly worthwhile as Bowes, the MP for South Durham from 1832 to 1847, when the £4,250 prize money and bets worth £30,000 (more than £3m today).

The Northern Echo: West Australian, with Bill Scott in the saddle and trainer John Scott at the horse's head

West Australian, with Bill Scott in the saddle and trainer John Scott at the horse's head

The best horse Scott ever trained was another that belonged to Bowes: West Australian (named because Bowes had an interest in a goldmining company in West Australia). “The West”, or “The Digger”, was guarded with shotguns at Whitewall to keep the nobblers at bay so that in 1853 he became the first horse to win the Triple Crown of the 2,000 Guineas, the Derby and the St Leger.

The Northern Echo: The grave of West Australian in the grounds of Streatlam Castle

West Australian's grave in the grounds of Streatlam Castle

This was the pinnacle of the careers of both Scott and Bowes.

The trainer remained at Whitewall into his old age. “He entertained nobles and villagers at his home, carving joints with a knife the handle of which was made from the shank bone of Rowton, his third St Leger winner,” says the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

The dictionary also says: “On a foggy morning in August 1871, while watching his horses work out on Stockton racecourse, Scott caught a chill from which he never recovered, and he died at Whitewall House on October 4, 1871.”

His last classic winner was Queen Bertha, which won the Oaks in 1863. Some sources say that it was his 41st classic victory, and it seems probable that he had other classic successes that were not recorded – in a notoriously corrupt sport, a horse might be entered under a nom de plume to beat the bookies – so perhaps the Wizard of the North’s magical wand of winners has yet to be beaten.