Thirteen years after sending out his last runner, Charlie Brooks has returned to training.

On Monday (14 November), Cavite Gamma became Charlie’s first runner in 4,745 days when finishing seventh under Jeremiah McGrath at Plumpton.

Charlie, who is a director of Towcester racecourse and married to former News International boss Rebekah Brooks (n ©e Wade), told H&H his return was prompted by “fascination” with the sport rather than tough times.

Rebekah resigned from her job at the height of the phone hacking scandal.

Charlie got his licence through from the British Horseracing Authority last week, but has been preparing for the past six months.

I’m way down the pecking order in the training ranks, but I’m looking forward to it,” he said.

“I plan to run horses and then sell them on, so it’s all down to buying the good horses in the first place – I will be the beginning of the chain.”

He added that he will be training from his base in the Cotswolds, but will never have more than 10 horses at one time – and pinpoints Proximo as his “one to watch”. The horse came third on Wednesday (16 November) at Warwick.

Charlie, who started in Lambourn aged 25, sent out more than 300 winners over jumps and his best-known wins include the Hennessy Gold Cup with both Couldnt Be Better (1995) and Suny Bay (1997), who the following year finished second in the Grand National, shortly before Charlie retired.

But he isn’t finding the return too taxing, adding: “Well, it’s been easy so far – everyone else does the hard work!”

This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse and Hound (17 November 2011)