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'I'm being forced to quit' - Brisbourne ends training career as his yard is sold

Mark Brisbourne: trained at Ness Strange Stables in Shrewsbury since the start of the 1990s
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Mark Brisbourne will saddle his final runner in the next few days after being forced to move out of his Shropshire stable, where he has operated for nearly 30 years.

Brisbourne has trained at Ness Strange Stables in Shrewsbury since the start of the 1990s but the property is being sold for a barn conversion by owner the Earl of Bradford.

"I don't want to pack up but I'm being forced to quit," said Brisbourne.

"I've been at the yard for a long time and have looked for somewhere else but I don't really have the horses to move on.

"I have a dozen here but only half of those are race-fit, so unfortunately my last runners will be at Wolverhampton either on Friday afternoon or Monday night."

The former jump jockey followed his father Tony's footsteps by taking out a training licence in 1991 and saddled his first winner when Green's Cassatt won at Thirsk in August 1992.

He has successfully operated at the lower levels on the Flat, particularly on the all-weather where Wolverhampton has been by far his most profitable course, in a career that has yielded more than 550 winners.

Hannibal Lad: won some valuable handicaps for trainer Mark Brisbourne
His most valuable victory came in a £100,000 Tattersalls sales race at Newmarket in 2003 with Milly Waters, while Hannibal Lad won some big handicaps including the Old Newton Cup at Haydock in 2001.

Adobe, who was bought for £1,800 out of John Gosden's yard, also helped put Brisbourne on the map when winning 17 races between 1999-2006 and the trainer played a key part in launching the careers of a number of jockeys such as George Baker and Martin Dwyer. 

More recently the yard enjoyed success with £800 buy Belle Royale, who was sold for a "six-figure sum" to Michael Tabor, for whom she won a Grade 1 in America.  

Brisbourne, who will be 62 next month, has seen the number of horses in his care diminish from a high of 94.

Belabour: a winner for the yard at Newcastle earlier this year
He had just a solitary win in 2016 and posted three successes in each of 2017, 2018 and this year and admits to suffering from similar financial struggles that caused the recent retirements of counterparts Brendan Powell and Nick Mitchell.

"I was fairly well self-supported but business rates have killed me – I've been spending £1,500 a month for empty boxes," he said.

Brisbourne, whose son Ben trains in Australia, has been assisted by daughter and amateur rider Becky and is in negotiations to find her and his team of horses new positions at another stable.

As for his own future, Brisbourne said: "I'd love to find a job to stay in racing and would welcome any offers."


Full name William Mark Brisbourne

Born June 22, 1957

Family Son of Tony Brisbourne (Shropshire farmer & trainer), father of Ben Brisbourne (trainer in Australia) and Becky Brisbourne (amateur jockey)

Wins as jump jockey 58 including one point-to-point (first under rules: Delbounty, Market Rasen, October 17, 1975)

Stables as trainer Ness Strange Stables, Great Ness, near Shrewsbury, Shropshire 1991-2019

First winner as trainer Green's Cassatt, Thirsk, August 1, 1992

Most notable winners Hannibal Lad (2000 Bonusprint Handicap, 2001 Old Newton Cup, Betdaq Handicap), Adobe (2001 Ripon Rowels Handicap), Roman Maze (2005 Blue Square Handicap)

Richest win £50,400 (Milly Waters, 2003 Tattersalls Autumn Auction Stakes, Newmarket)

Best horse Belle Royale (8 wins 2010-11, subsequent US Grade 1 winner)

Most prolific winner Adobe (17 wins 1999-2006, including 8 in 2000)

Most wins in a season 56 in 2004

Total wins as trainer 560 (534 Flat, 26 jumps)

Compiled by John Randall

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I've been at the yard for a long time and have looked for somewhere else but I don't really have the horses to move on
E.W. Terms