Chris Wall calls for practice time due to declining numbers

    Wall enjoyed a good year, but says "Our numbers just dwindled to the point where it no longer made sense to continue"
Wall enjoyed a good year, but says “our numbers just got down to the point where it didn’t make sense to continue.”

Chris Wall has decided to end a 36-year training career due to the decline in the number of horses at his Newmarket yard.

Wall, who cheated his first winner, Romantic Prince, at Haydock in 1987, is perhaps best known for cheating the globetrotter and eight-time Group Premio Loco winner, who won more than £750,000 in prize money in money from 2006 to 2014.

His first major race success came when Rotherfield Grays won the Stewards Cup at Goodwood in 1988.

Other noted winners included Grand Criterium winner Candy Glen, Sandown Mile hero Missed Flight and Donna Viola, who won the Prix de l’Opera and the Grade One Yellow Ribbon Stakes in America for Wall.

The handler had his most productive season in 2014 when he sired 37 winners and finishes at a high, with Double Or Bubble winning a Group Three this term and adding to a tally of 20 winners from 128 runners .

He said: “I’m stopping training rather than retiring. I hope I can find something to do to keep the wolf at the door.

“Our numbers just dwindled to the point where it didn’t make sense to continue.

“We had 30 this year, which would have been good if we could have maintained that level of numbers – we would have kept going.

Wall reflects on the group’s glory days for Double Or Bubble

“But we were just having numbers in the teens and it just doesn’t work at that level.

“We could have worked it out and found a way to do it, but it wouldn’t have been the way we’ve always done it, and I felt that if we couldn’t do it the way we’d always done it, I’d rather stop you.

“We’ve had a good season so it makes sense to go out on a good note rather than struggle and regret it and finish on a bad note and have people say, ‘you old fool, would had to pack earlier.”

“We did well, we had a good career and we had great support from our owners. We had good relations with various jockeys who were helpful to us at different times.

“I always thought we punched above our weight for a yard that had between 40 and 50 horses, which sounds like a lot but in the modern era is very little.

“I was in a steady decline, which was fine. I thought we could go on for a few years. But this year we had a few owners that unfortunately died and didn’t stack.

“We haven’t been able to get horses to replace them. I suddenly thought, “no, that’s just not going to work.”

“I do not know what I will do. Obviously, it’s going to take some time to get the business going and a line drawn under things, so probably in the new year we’ll finish that and then see what’s there.

“There’s a lot of good, young guys out there and they’re the people everyone seems to want to train with these days.

“Racing is fine. To be continued. Like all old buffers, we can sit on the sidelines and say, “Things weren’t like that back in the day.”

While there were plenty of highlights for the yard, Wall added that the joy he got on some of the minor tracks matched the race highs in the pack.

He said: “However, I’ve had a lot of success in all the races in the groups, sometimes the little races I’ve won have been quite nice because you’ve won with something you thought we’d never win a race with , or he’s had problems and I’ve groomed him over time, or just seeing the joy and delight on the owners’ faces when they’ve had a winner, whether it’s at Ascot or midnight at Wolverhampton. That was always very satisfying.

“You have to have a good passion for it. It is all-consuming. You don’t have much time to do other things.

“I had an only son and he wasn’t going to do that. It has grown largely without me realizing it. Now he’s had a kid and I’m a grandfather, I won’t make that mistake twice.”

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