Milton Bradley, trainer of The Tatling, has decided to retire after over 50 years in the game.
Bradley, 86, feels there is no longer a future in training the types of horses he has made his name with at the lower end of the scale.
The handler also enjoyed high-profile success with the likes of The Tatling, winner of the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot in 2004, while he highlighted Salviati and Brevity as other highlights.
“The Tatling won the biggest races for me. Salviati was good, Offa’s Mead won the Bovis at Ascot and I only gave £100 for him, while Brevity won £135,000 having cost just £3,500,” said Bradley.
“We were unlucky that when The Tatling won the King’s Stand it was a Group Two and not long after it was made a Group One. He was very straightforward to train, the best horses tend to be.
“The problem we’ve got now is we are running out of people who have money to waste buying horses. You can turn up with a moderate horse at Wolverhampton and find yourself up against one who cost £100,000 running for £3,000.
“The sensible owners I’ve had all my career aren’t going to spend that sort of money to win next to nothing. Most of the ones I won a lot of races with wouldn’t cost £10,000.
“One year I had 70-odd winners and we’d go anywhere with them, but in those days you’d get a travelling allowance and a free lunch for your family. They don’t do much to keep the owners these days.”
Bradley feels more should be done to elevate prize money at the lower end of the scale.
“The problem we have is the money for all the big races keeps going up, yet you only get five or six runners and you still would if the money stayed the same. It’s the bottom end that needs more money,” he said.
It’s a sad day. I didn’t want to give up, but there’s no future in racing the way it is
“I would go to Bath, win their smallest race and it would be worth £5,000 – it’s a lot less now.
“I would say two-thirds of the horses in this country are rated less than 65, yet there just aren’t enough races to cater for them.
“Nowadays you can get an outside draw on the all-weather, meet trouble in running and get dropped 3lb. That might mean there isn’t another race for your horse for weeks that he can get into.
“I had a two-year-old recently, he got a mark of 50 after three runs. His first handicap (he was) drawn 10 of 11, he got stopped in the run and he was dropped 3lb. Luckily I had him in another race a few days later which he won, otherwise he wouldn’t have been running for months.
“Owners won’t put up with that, especially at the minute as they can’t go racing.
“It’s a sad day. I didn’t want to give up, but there’s no future in racing the way it is.”