Royal Ascot winner Olly Stevens to quit training

Olly Stevens

Olly Stevens: enjoyed top-level success in just three years training

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)  

OLLY STEVENS will not be renewing his trainer’s licence next year despite having enjoyed significant top-level success in three brief years at the helm of Sheikh Fahad Al Thani’s Robins Farm Racing operation near Chiddingfold in Surrey.

Citing family reasons above all others – he and his wife Hetta have twin girls aged three and a half – he informed the sheikh of his decision on Friday and told staff and owners on Wednesday.

Rising star

Stevens, 36,  tasted Royal Ascot success at the first attempt with Extortionist in the 2013 Windsor Castle Stakes and the Group 2 win of Green Door in the Flying Childers Stakes was another first-season highlight.

The following spring Lightning Thunder was second in the Qipco 1,000 Guineas and in the Irish equivalent, and that autumn Peace And War landed a historic first European Grade 1 two-year-old win on dirt in the Alcibiades Stakes at Keeneland.

LIGHTNING THUNDER at Newmarket 4-5-14.

Lightning Thunder: finished second in the 2014 1,000 Guineas

  PICTURE: Martin Lynch (racingpost.com/photos)  

He has enjoyed further success this year, notably with classy miler Lightning Spear, yet admits his overriding emotion even after his biggest wins has been one of relief rather than celebration.

He said: “People might be surprised, but you have to do what’s best by your family, and when we got to the time of the year when we either had to make plans for next season or not, we decided not. We are not being pushed. That’s not the situation at all.”

Sheikh Fahad support

David Redvers, racing manager to the sheikh, paid glowing tribute to the couple for what they achieved in such a short space of time and spoke of his shock at the news.

He said: “I’m very sad indeed at their decision, but if they feel it’s best for them and the twins to take a break I completely support their decision, and so does Sheikh Fahad. We wish them the very best and hope that when the girls have grown up they might want to return to training.

“Anybody who achieved what they achieved in such a short space of time will fly at whatever they turn their hands to.”

 

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