Frances Crowley (right) with Mick Kinane after winning her first ClassicPICTURE: CAROLINE NORRIS
Classic-winning trainer Crowley plans retirement
FRANCES CROWLEY, who made Irish racing history three years ago by becoming the first licensed female trainer to send out an Irish Classic winner, is inthe process of finishing up as a public trainer after ten years in the role.
Married to Ireland's Flat champion jockey Pat Smullen, Crowley won the 2005 Irish 1,000 Guineas with Saoire, ridden by Mick Kinane.
She said: "I had been thinking about retiring from full time training forsome time and I've decided that now is a good time to do it.
"You could call it a life decision. I haven't been enjoying the job as much as I used to and I've decided to make a change.
"I'm trying to find new homes for our team of 35 horses and bythe end of next week we will probably have only a few horses of our own left.
"I might decide to take out a restricted licence and train a few of our own. But I'll be preparing horses for the sales, including the breeze-ups.We have a farm and will still have plenty of young horses about the place.
"Racing has been very good to me and I've trained about 350 winners and while I'm winding down on the training front I'm certainly not leaving the game."
Crowley added: "The worst part of what I've decided to do was telling my many loyal owners and my staff. I would like to publicly thank all of them for all the support they have given me over the years."
Twice Ireland's champion amateur rider, Crowley graduated with a commerce degree from University College Dublin and went on to do a post graduate course in equine studies.
She started training at Piltown, County Kilkenny alongside her father, Joe Crowley, in 1998 and in her first season she trained 42 winners tofinish third in thejumps trainers' championship.
Moscow Express won £326,866 in prize money for Frances CrowleyPICTURE: CAROLINE NORRIS
Her major winners over jumps included Moscow Express, who won a total of 26 races, 17 of them over fences, including the 2001 Galway Plate; Sackville, the winner of 18 races and who won eight consecutive novice chases including the Drinmore Chase and the Powers Cup during the 2000-01 season, before adding the Charlie Hall Chase and the Tommy Whittle Chase the following season.
She also won the Drinmore Chase with Promalee, who was previously trained by her brother-in-law Aidan O'Brien, while she won seven races with Nil Desperandum, most notably, again, the Drinmore Chase at Fairyhouse in 2003.
She moved to Clifton Lodge, formerly owned by Noel Furlong, on the Curragh in June 2003.
While Saoire's Classic victory marked her highest achievement as a trainer her other smart Flat performers included Cheyenne Star, the winner of two Group 3 events-the Ridgewood Pearl Stakes at the Curragh last year and the Brownstown Stakes at Leopardstown this season- and six other races including two at Listed level.
Crowley, mother of five year old Hannah and one and a half year old Paddy, said: "We've had some good years with the horses. It would have been nice to go out at the end of a good season but we've a quiet one this year, so that wasn't possible."