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Hanbury to quit training at end of year.

Byline: TONY ELVES

BEN HANBURY, trainer of dual Classic winner Midway Lady, will call time on an illustrious training career when he hands in his licence at the end of the year.

Hanbury, based at Diomed Stables in Newmarket, recently sold his yard to Stuart Williams and had considered carrying on from other premises, but a 'business decision' has ultimately led to Hanbury ending a career spanning more than 30 years.

Hanbury said yesterday: 'I have sold the yard to Stuart Williams and he is a very lucky boy as it is a beautiful place from which to train. I spoke to [principal owner] Sheikh Hamdan on Sunday evening and I will not be training next year.

'I am very grateful to Sheikh Hamdan, who has supported me over the last 15 years, and also to my other owners. It is a huge wrench and I did want to carry on, but in the end it was a business decision and everyone has to retire sometime.

'I wish Stuart the very best for the future and I am sure he will do well from the yard.'

Hanbury's involvement in racing extends beyond the start of his training career. He worked for Ryan Price as a stable groom, was a leading amateur rider with Dan Moore in Ireland and rode professionally for Ken Cundell and Roddy Armytage before joining Bernard van Cutsem as his assistant, where he remained for four years until taking out his own licence.

Hanbury added: 'I have been in racing since I was 15 and I am now 58, and I have been working seven days a week for a long time, but Flat racing was my calling. It is very sad as I created everything here, but it has been worrying me a lot lately.

'Looking on the positive side, I have trained three Classic winners and seven Group 1 winners, and Sheikh Hamdan and myself have had a lot of luck together. Without his loyal support it would have been very different for me and I have been lucky to train a lot of good horses for him.'

Hanbury's most famous success was with Midway Lady, who won the 1986 1,000 Guineas and Oaks, and he also provided Willie Carson with a final Classic victory when Matiya landed the 1996 Irish 1,000 Guineas.

He also won a Dewhurst Stakes with Kala Dancer and was no stranger to big-race success, landing such prestigious prizes as the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot, Tattersalls Rogers Gold Cup at The Curragh and several other Group races abroad.

'We bought a lot of horses quite cheaply who went on to prove very smart performers,' Hanbury said.

'Matiya was well bought by Sheikh Hamdan for 20,000gns and the likes of Per Quod, Kala Dancer, Tipsy Creek, Alshakr, Batshoof, Bin Ajwad and Ramooz also didn't cost a great deal of money for what they achieved.'

Hanbury did not mind a tilt at the ring either, and his most memorable success was when Tipsy Creek won the 1996 Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot.

He said: 'Tipsy Creek winning the Norfolk was very exciting as he came up the wrong side of the track under Willie Ryan and won. The night before, I had this dream that I was leading him into the winner's enclosure, so I had huge bet on him at 6-1.'

Hanbury's popularity with his staff is reflected by the fact that his head groom Bryan Woods has been with him since the trainer's first day at Diomed Stables and, unfortunately, he and four other remaining members of his staff will face redundancy.

However, Hanbury was keen to stress the importance of another, unpaid member of his staff.

He added: 'All the trainers' wives are incredible but my wife Chunky has to be the best. She is here at 5am every day, rides out, does the shopping and cooking, and I simply couldn't have done it all without her.'

Hanbury's plans for the future are unclear, but ideally he would like to find another position in the industry he has loved.

He said: 'I am only 58 and I am open to offers. I would like to stay in the industry in some capacity.'

Midway double highlight of fine career

Name: Benjamin Hanbury

Born: March 25, 1946

Date of first licence: 1974

Trains at: Diomed Stables, Newmarket, Suffolk

Principal patron: Hamdan Al Maktoum

Previous experience: With Ryan Price, Dan Moore (in Ireland) and Bernard van Cutsem. Also amateur jumps jockey

Classic winners: Midway Lady (1986 1,000 Guineas and Oaks), Matiya (1996 Irish 1,000 Guineas)

Other Group 1 wins: Midway Lady (1985 Prix Marcel Boussac), Kala Dancer (1984 Dewhurst Stakes), Twafeaj (1991 Moyglare Stud Stakes)

Other notable winners: Cumbernauld (1975 Queen Alexandra Stakes), Midway Lady (1985 May Hill Stakes) Jacamar (1988 Chesham Stakes), Batshoof (1990 Tattersalls Gold Cup Stakes, Prince of Wales's Stakes), White Crown (1992 Solario Stakes), Polish Laughter (1993 Mill Reef Stakes, 1993 Railway Stakes), En Attendant (1993, 1994 Bunbury Cup), Bin Ajwaad (1994 Desmond Stakes, 1995 Gladness Stakes), Tipsy Creek (1996 Norfolk Stakes), Fahris (1997 Select Stakes), Ramooz (1997 Van Geest Criterion Stakes, 1997 and 1999 Minstrel Stakes, 1998 Boland Stakes), Alshakr (2000 Falmouth Stakes), Itnab (2003 Princess Royal Stakes)

Wins in a season (1982-2003): 22; 35; 34; 20; 24; 31; 40; 42; 36; 36; 39; 35; 25; 36; 29; 27; 28; 36; 20; 24; 18; 14

Compiled by Seb Vance
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Sep 28, 2004
Words:909
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