Racing: Eager to the end

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The Independent Online
ARTHUR STEPHENSON had still been planning where his horses would run today and next week until shortly before his death late on Thursday night, one of the trainer's main owners, Peter Piller, said yesterday.

Piller, joining the rest of racing in paying tribute to Stephenson, said: 'I've spoken to Arthur's wife Nancy and she tells me that right up until the end he was still talking about his racing and organising where horses would run. Racing was his life.'

Blazing Walker is Piller's best horse and the owner added: 'He's in work again now and Arthur was just telling me about him earlier this week. We're very hopeful he'll run in the Gold Cup, it's only a shame Arthur won't be around to see it.'

Stable jockey Chris Grant described his boss as 'tough but fair, and very loyal', while Britain's most successful woman trainer, Mary Reveley, said: 'Arthur meant more to me than anyone in racing - he helped me so much. My son Keith went to work for him when he left school, and Arthur was someone I have looked up to all of my career.

A question mark now hangs over the future of the yard, which has stabled up to 100 horses. Piller owns 15 and said: 'My horses will be staying at the yard for the time being. I want to see what the family want to do.'

Nephew Peter Cheesbrough has been granted a temporary training licence to continue operations at the County Durham yard.

Cheesbrough has been representing the yard at racecourses throughout his uncle's intermittent absence through ill health over the past two seasons.

He will be on duty at Wetherby today where he follows Stephenson's wishes by saddling Arthur's Minstrel and If You Say So.

(Photograph omitted)