Racing: Forster `ends an era'

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The Independent Online
TRIBUTES poured in yesterday for the triple Grand National winning trainer Captain Tim Forster who has announced he will retire at the end of the month after a training career spanning 36 years.

Former jockey Graham Thorner who began his career with Forster at the age of 15 and stayed with the former cavalryman until his retirement in 1981, described Forster as "very tough, but very fair".

Thorner, rode a host of winners for Forster over 15 years including Well To Do, victorious in the 1972 Grand National and the first of a trio of Forster-trained National winners which also included Ben Nevis (1980) and Last Suspect (1985).

"I was with the Captain from the age of 15 to my retirement," said Thorner. "Apart from John Francome and Fred Winter I don't think there have been many longer trainer/jockey relationships.''

Thorner was one of many top class jockeys to begin their careers under Forster. Former champion Richard Dunwoody, who joined Forster as an amateur, is another who had a lot to thank him for.

"He was very, very good to me," said Dunwoody. "It was 16 or 17 years ago and I could not have had a better start. It is sad he has retired but hopefully we will still see him on the track, he is a real gentleman."

That view was echoed by Brendan Powell, the Irishman who rode the Forster- trained Dublin Flyer to success in a host of top chases, mostly at Cheltenham.

"He was a great man to ride for and it's the end of an era," said the jockey.

RICHARD EDMONDSON

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