25 September 2014 RICHARD BARBER RETIRES
by Carolyn Tanner
Richard Barber, one of the two most successful trainers in the history of Point-to-Pointing and Hunter Chasing – the other being the late Joe Turner – has decided to call it a day. “I didn’t want to compete against Jack [his grandson, who made such a fine start to his own training career last season],” he explained solemnly, adding “I might have come off second best!”
His initial winner was Gerry Doyle, who scored under Jacqui Thorne at Nedge in 1986, and he signed off with Whataknight (Will Biddick) at Bratton Down in June.
Rimpton Boy and the evergreen Barneys Mate rank among his most prolific winners, while the innumerable young horses which have begun their racing days under his tutelage before switching to Paul Nicholls and making their name under Rules include See More Business, the Cheltenham Gold Cup hero of 1999.
Multiple victories in a day have been commonplace, the most notable being when he saddled seven winners at Castle Of Comfort in 1998.
He won the Cheltenham Foxhunter Chase four times with Fantus (twice), Rushing Wild and Earthmover, and he sent out Trust Fund to take the Aintree equivalent in 2009.
The many jockeys who have enjoyed a fruitful time through their connection to the Barber stable include Justin Fathing and Tim Mitchell, plus champions Polly Curling, Rachael Green and Will Biddick, while eight times champion Polly Gundry got her foot on the ladder to success at the Seaborough yard.
The other retirement in the Barber family is that of Jack, who has hung up his racing saddle at the age of just 23 to concentrate on training, having booted home over 60 winners since opening his account on Thisthatandtother on his debut in 2009.
The majority of his grandfather’s horses have transferred to his own neighbouring yard, and he is taking on the responsibility for the Nicholls youngsters. He currently has over 30 in, with more to come. Will Biddick and Josh Newman will share the riding duties.
Richard will not be idle, as twice a day he will be tending to the gallops which are utilised not only by his and Jack’s Pointers but by the strings of Harry Fry and Anthony Honeyball. He has also awarded himself a new title, announcing “I’m now Chief Criticiser!”