In another worrying development for the sport, trainer Charlie Swan is quitting. He’s not the first. He will not be the last. For a growing number of people, training thoroughbred racehorses is no longer cost effective.
We wonder why there are fewer racehorses are in training these days and, as a consequence, why there are so many three, four and five horse races taking place up and down the country. A lack of prize money has long been blamed and with good reason. But the ever rising costs of stabling, feeding and training racehorses has seen trainers quit in recent years.
Swan says: “It’s just got a bit difficult, we don’t have as many horses here now and it’s time to get out really. With the costs of labour and everything else, the rising costs and less horses, it’s not as easy as it was. I’d like to thank all my staff and owners. Life goes on and I will look to the future.
“I’ve been very lucky and trained some nice horses for JP and Gigginstown and others, and I thank them all for their support. One Cool Cookie won a Grade One and so did Offshore Account, then there was Ground Ball and This Is Serious and horses like that, in the Eider and the Thyestes.
“I’ve had a couple of nice Flat horses, winning the Irish Lincoln and Cambridgeshire, and Rajik running fourth in the Leger.
“I just don’t have as many horses now.”
And there we have the problem in a nutshell. Too expensive, too little prize money and simply not enough good racehorses to go around.
I know not how this situation can be turned around. But, for the future of the sport, it must.