Charlie Swan to quit training career he says is no longer viable
Charlie Swan shocked the racing world last night by announcing that he is to quit the training ranks at the end of the month due to the struggle to make the job pay.
The brilliant nine-time champion jockey, who will instead try to expand his bloodstock business, saddled over 500 winners across both codes in a career that began in 1998 as his glorious era in the saddle wound down before his 2003 retirement.
However, despite enjoying the patronage of leading patrons such as Michael O'Leary, JP McManus and John Magnier at the Cloughjordan family estate that he took over from his well-known father Donald, Swan has failed in recent years to build on the early promise of his second vocation.
From a high of 42 wins in the 2005-2006 jumps season, his tally dropped to just 14 the season before last, as the firepower that saw him twice enjoy Grade One success in 2007 with One Cool Cookie and Offshore Account proved difficult to reproduce. He has been operating at around 50pc capacity compared to when he had over 70 horses at his peak, saddling eight winners this term.
Quoted on racingpost.com last night, Swan said: "I would like to thank all my staff most sincerely for their hard work, dedication and loyalty over the years. I have been very lucky to have trained horses for wonderful owners and would like to take the opportunity to thank them all.
"It was a very hard decision to make, because of the staff and the owners. However, the reality is the training business is no longer viable for me for two main reasons; the increased cost of labour, feed and the overheads, and a reduction in numbers in the yard. Also we have been selling some of the more promising youngsters and that has left us without horses to keep the profile of the stable high."
That such a skilled, respected and well-connected individual couldn't make the job viable is indicative of the plight facing most trainers bar those in the higher echelon, a point highlighted in yesterday's HRI 2014 figures.