PICTURE: Martin Lynch (racingpost.com/photos)
WILLIE MUSSON, one of Newmarket’s most senior and respected trainers, is to retire at the end of this week after more than 40 years with a licence.
The 67-year-old has trained more than 400 winners during a career that has spanned five decades. His best horse was Ore, who won the Group 2 Henry II Stakes before finishing runner-up to Gildoran in the 1984 Gold Cup.
A former point-to-point rider, Musson first embarked on a training career near Guildford in 1976 before moving to Newmarket four years later when he leased Phantom House Stables on Fordham Road.
After a successful spell, Musson then purchased his current base at nearby Saville House Stables, where he has trained since 1986.
Musson, who could bid to go out on a high as he has three entries later this week, saddled what might prove to be his last winner when Broughtons Vision scored in a mile handicap at Kempton last month.
That winner, plus around nine other horses owned by Musson’s main backer Michael Broughton, are shortly to be transferred to upcoming local trainer Henry Spiller, who is set to be the new tenant at Saville House.
‘Time for me to bow out’
Musson, who was still riding out until recently, said: “I’ve had a good innings and it’s time for someone younger to take over.
“We’ve had a fantastic time in Newmarket and the best horse I trained was Ore, who took us to Royal Ascot, where Lester Piggott rode him to be second in the Ascot Gold Cup.
“I’d like to thank Michael Broughton for his support over the past 25 years. Saville House is heading into an exciting new chapter with Henry Spiller coming in next week. I’ll continue to live on the yard but it’s time for me to bow out.”
Reflecting on the biggest changes he has seen in Newmarket over the past 36 years, Musson said: “The coming of the Arabs has been the biggest change and Newmarket has benefited greatly from their support. There are a lot more horses around now than there used to be and that has put pressure on the facilities as you didn’t have to queue in the old days.”
Spiller, who currently trains at Saffron House Stables on Hamilton Road and has had two winners this month, said: “It’s an exciting challenge and thanks to Mr Broughton for giving me the opportunity.
“I hope to get started at the end of the week and I’m very much looking forward to it.”
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