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Charlie Swan's shock retirement rocks Irish racing

By Martin Kelly

Charlie Swan stunned Irish racing last night with the announcement that he is to retire from the training ranks at the end of this month.

Swan, who will always be remembered from his riding days as the partner of the great Istabraq and has enjoyed many big-race successes from his Tipperary stables, cited rising costs and the viability of his operation as being behind his decision.

He said: "It's just got a bit difficult, we don't have as many horses here now and it's time to get out really.

"With the costs of labour and everything else, the rising costs and less horses, it's not as easy as it was.

"I'd like to thank all my staff and owners. Life goes on and I will look to the future, I will probably do a bit of trading in horses and the bloodstock side of things and see what happens."

Swan, who retired from the saddle in 2003 having won three Champion Hurdles at Cheltenham on Istabraq for Aidan O'Brien and JP McManus, saw Offshore Account and One Cool Cookie win Grade Ones for his Cloughjordan yard, at Punchestown and Fairyhouse respectively.

Emmpat won the Scottish Champion Hurdle, while smart stayer This Is Serious claimed the Eider Chase at Newcastle, the Cork Grand National and the Thyestes Chase at Gowran, with Ground Ball winning the Dan Moore Memorial Handicap Chase at Fairyhouse with Ulster great Tony McCoy on board.

What A Native was another big handicap chase winner, and there was success on the Flat, too, as Jalmira lifted the Irish Cambridgeshire and Crooked Throw took the Irish Lincoln.

Among his best horses on the level was Rajik, a dual Listed winner and fourth in the Irish Leger of 2010 to Sans Frontieres.

Swan added: "I've been very lucky and trained some nice horses for JP and Gigginstown and others, and I thank them all for their support.

"One Cool Cookie won a Grade One and so did Offshore Account, then there was Ground Ball and This Is Serious and horses like that, in the Eider and the Thyestes," he said.

"I've had a couple of nice Flat horses, winning the Irish Lincoln and Cambridgeshire, and Rajik running fourth in the Leger.

"I just don't have as many horses now."

Denis O'Regan won the Champion Novice Chase on Offshore Account in 2007 and tweeted: "Good luck to @CFSwan for the future, gave me my first G1."

Meanwhile, trainer Nicky Henderson is "desperate" for Sprinter Sacre to return at Ascot on Saturday but is worried about heavy going.

Henderson will declare Sprinter, who has recovered from a heart murmur, for the big Clarence House Chase.

But he is conscious the nine-year-old former champion chaser has not raced for more than a year.

"We're desperately keen to run and I think we've got to go positive," Henderson said.

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