Smith the latest to hand in training licence
NEWMARKET trainer Vince Smith has become the latest victim of the economic downturn and relinquished his licence on Wednesday night.
Having sent out 54 Flat winners, plus two over jumps, and landed several notable gambles over the past four and a half years, the former jockey has not been able to make it pay.
Smith, 43, who previously downsized 18 months ago and has since been renting 25 boxes at Exeter Stables in Exning, Suffolk - three-quarters of which are empty - is joining Hugh Collingridge as assistant, but still harbours ambitions of resuming his career in the future.
"I was down to just six or seven horses and it just wasn't viable financially to carry on with that number where I am," said Smith, whose biggest success came when Blitzkrieg won the Group 3 Autumn Stakes at Salisbury in 2005, beating none other than Dylan Thomas by a neck.
"It's just so hard to compete with the big boys. Unless you have got owners who are going to spend a few quid every year, you're going to be up against it, and if you're not competing at the top, in the present climate, it is very hard to get people interested even if you're winning races.
"They have got to be very, very keen owners to warrant owning moderate horses.
"I have mostly had 15 to 20 horses in the past, but a few of my owners have dropped out and I really can't blame them because prize-money is so ridiculous down at the bottom.
"We had Majestical win five races in just over a year and he didn't even cover his costs. There's clearly something wrong when that can happen, and it is obviously disheartening for owners.
"Times are getting tougher at the bottom and the smaller people are cutting back," added Smith.
"I'm sure I will be back at some stage. I have just got to regroup and see if there are any owners out there who are able to get hold of some nice horses, but when you are in that lower league it is a big struggle."