ON what became one of the coldest and wettest afternoons of the winter at Catterick last Friday, Tim Walford sent out his final runner as a trainer.

The following day, February 1, his younger son Mark took over the running of Cornborough Manor stables, at Sheriff Hutton.

His final runner, Big Sound, was the subject of a racecourse whisper and was sent off 2-1 favourite in the Watt Fences Handicap Hurdle but could never get into contention and finished a distant fifth behind Hartforth.

When asked about his decision to retire, Walford said: “It’s a team job and to be fair Mark does most of the work anyway.

“He’s 30 now, he has his own ideas and might get a few younger people involved as owners.

“I’ll still be there. I’m not going to be sitting in front of the fire in my slippers but when it comes to the final decision it will be Mark’s, not mine. Hopefully I have built a foundation for him to expand.

“We have about 30 horses in the yard but we shall be looking for more quality in the future.”

Tim Walford started training about 25 years ago with point-to-pointers but built up his string to compete in both National Hunt and Flat races.

He had some very shrewd business successes too, buying Grey Berry for £9,000 and selling 18 months later for more than £300,000, and making Ubi Ace, another six-figure sale after a fine career as a hurdler.

Mark, whose brother Robert is also training, at Blandford in Dorset, learned the trade with Mick Channon and John Quinn before spending six years assisting his father.

He sent out his first runner, Lilly’s Legend, at Market Rasen yesterday (Tuesday). The fully finished last of nine.