Top trainers retire

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  • National hunt trainer Josh Gifford and flat race trainer Ian Balding have both announced their decision to retire

    Gifford hands over the reins to son Nick

    Trainer Josh Gifford,is to stand down from training and hand over the reins of his Sussex stables to his son Nick.

    Sixty-year-old Gifford was champion jockey four times and has spent 40 years in racing. He plans to transfer the training responsibilities to his 30-year-old son next June.

    Gifford is best known for his highly emotional 1981 Grand National win with Aldaniti. Ridden to victory by Bob Champion who had returned to the saddle after a successful fight against cancer.

    The 1993 Queen Mother Champion Chase winner Deep Sensation and Bradbury Star’s two wins in the Mackeson Gold Cup were among Gifford’s string of high class training triumphs.

    He also took the Hennessy Gold Cup with Approaching and the Whitbread Gold Cup, courtesy of Shady Deal.

    Gifford won his jockeys’ championships in 1962-63, 1963-64 and again in 1966-67 and 1967-68.

    It wasn’t a hard decision to make,” Gifford told the Racing Post. “You can’t go on for ever and Nick is very keen, so why stand in his way? He has had a bit of success as a point-to-point trainer and he’s been bitten by the sport.”

    Gifford jnr, who is 6ft 4in tall, understandably never had any plans to follow his father in the saddle. But he has trained about 20 winners of point-to-points and hunter chases and now his father has given him the nod believes it is time for younger blood at the Findon stables.

    Andrew Balding takes over from his father Ian

    Ian Balding, who has held a trainer’s licence for 38 years, is to hand over the responsibilities of his Kingsclere stables to his son Andrew at the end of the year.

    Balding, 63, former trainer to the Queen, said: “Andrew and I have been sharing the horses and he’s done extremely well and it’s high time he took over.”

    Among Balding’s most memorable moments were a string of top races in 1971 when he saddled the brilliant Mill Reef to win the Derby, Eclipse Strakes, King George V1 and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

    A successful amateur rider, whose 70 successes in the saddle included a lot of point-to-points, Balding said: “I suppose Mill Reef’s Arc was the high point, though more recently and emotionally it was Lochsong’s second Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamp in 1994.

    It has been wonderful to train a few good horses for lots of wonderful owners.”

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