Keith Reveley to retire from training by the end of the month
Monday 9 January 2017
The Reveley training dynasty, which has been synonymous with northern National Hunt racing for over 30 years, will no longer be a feature on British racecards from the end of this month.
Britain's most successful female trainer, Mary Reveley, announced her retirement in 2004 after saddling over 2,000 winners in a 22-year career.
Her son Keith took over the reins at Saltburn in Cleveland, but will hand in his licence at the end of January.
Reveley's son, James, was recently crowned champion jockey in France after committing to riding full-time across the Channel little under a year ago, and the soon-to-retire trainer admits it was the biggest factor in his decision to call it a day.
He said: "James made the decision to go full-time in France last spring. He was renting for a while and then he bought a house last September, and that just put things in motion from my point of view.
"Don't get me wrong, I'm over the moon for him, but my licence runs out on January 31 and that will be it.
"I've just lost the incentive for it, to be honest. Our aim from the start was to get James riding as a professional, thankfully we did that and we had some great days over the years.
"If James had kept up the half-and-half of riding in Britain and France, I'd have been quite keen to carry on as we have some lovely young horses.
"John Dawson has come in and done very well for us and things have gone grand, but it's just not the same without James."
Mary Reveley enjoyed huge success under both codes, notably winning a Midlands National, a Cambridgeshire and the Cesarewitch twice, although most of her victories came under National Hunt Rules.
Since officially taking over the licence almost 13 years ago, Keith, 53, has saddled big-race winners like Ungaro, Rambling Minster and Tazbar.
"We've had some great days. Mellottie winning the Cambridgeshire was a big one and Marello was a great mare for us, as was Function Dream," said the trainer.
"In recent years we've had Ungaro for Sir Robert Ogden, who won the Feltham at Kempton, and Rambling Minster was a grand old horse.
"Tazbar was a very good horse. He was second to Long Run in the Feltham and won his next two over fences, but then he got a tendon injury and we could never get him right. I don't think we ever saw the best of him, unfortunately.
"We had 100-plus horses here at one time and I remember us having 187 winners in a calendar year, which was brilliant.
"Ungaro was second in the Great Yorkshire Chase at Doncaster twice and that was one race I always wanted to win, so it's a shame we didn't manage it."
Despite Reveley's impending retirement, the show will go on at Groundhill Farm, with long-time head lass Gillian Boanas taking out a full training licence.
Reveley said: "There'll still be horses trained here. Gillian has worked for us for around 25 years and had an ambition to train, which I didn't know about.
"When she told me I was delighted as it suited me down to the ground.
"She'll start off with around a dozen horses and there's some lovely youngsters among them. With normal luck there's no reason why she can't make a really good go of it.
"These days you need to get your name out there on the internet and on social media and I don't even know how to switch a computer on!
"I'll still be around to give her any advice if she needs it and I'll still do the gallops the way they've always been done.
"It will mean I'll be able to go over to France to spend more time with James without having to rush back."
Reveley hopes to go out on a high, adding: "There are a couple of nice races at the end of January and it would be nice to go out with a winner.
"The plan would have been to have James ride for us, but obviously that's not going to happen now with him being injured."
Reveley's retirement is perhaps another indicator of the state of northern jumps racing.
He said: "When we had Marello and Function Dream, the north could compete.
"There were the Easterbys and the Dickinsons and I'm not sure what's gone wrong.
"There are northern owners, but most of them have their horses trained in the south, which is a shame.
"I'm not sure how we can change it, but if someone can get a couple of decent horses, it's amazing how the pendulum swings."