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Buckley to quit training after 'disastrous year'

MARK BUCKLEY, who two years ago this month won a valuable race at Ascot, has relinquished his licence after failing to make the job pay.

Trainer Mark Buckley, with wife Kim and rottweiler Perry

Mark Buckley, who has quit training, with wife Kim and rottweiler Perry

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker  

However the 36-year-old hopes to return to training ranks in the future if he can upgrade the standard of his stable.

"It has been a disastrous year," admitted Buckley whose small operation at Castle Bytham,Lincolnshire, could ill afford to be hit by health problems when down to only four horses.

"We have a few little injuries as well that have kept a couple of horses off the track and when you are down to that number you are reducing your chances again. The ones we were left with were only moderate, and with levels of prize-money these days, it is hard to get motivated when you have those sort of horses."

Despite failing to find the scoreboard this term, Buckley, who has no immediate employment plans and says he is open to offers, has sent out 68 winners over the past decade.

The decision to quit came just short of the second anniversary of his biggest success when Pevensey picked up over £43,000 for landinga Heritage Handicap at the Berkshire track.

"We need a bit of time to regroup, but hopefully we will be back because we had quite a bit of success, despite never having a string of more than 15-16, and we are pretty good at what we do when we have the right horses," went on Buckley whose wife, Kim, is in a wheelchair after being paralysed in a gallops accident in 1999 when the couple were based in Yorkshire.

"In this day and age, racing is so competitive and the return for owners is very small, so we need to up the standard of our horses. Hopefully we will be able to do that because training is all we know how to do."

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