Racing: Thorner calls a halt

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GRAHAM THORNER yesterday became the latest trainer to quit. The former champion jump jockey is giving up 10 days before his 50th birthday. He follows Julie Cecil, Lord Huntingdon and Bob Champion who have each handed in their licences in recent months.

Thorner rode 650 winners, including Well To Do in the 1972 Grand National, and was champion jockey in 1970-71. But as a trainer, his best season came in 1981-82 with 11 winners and he has had none since 1997.

Venetia Williams has a strong Champion Hurdle hand with Bellator, Stretarez and Happy Change. Bellator may run in Friday's Morebattle Hurdle at Kelso and Saturday's Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle at Kempton.

The bookmakers have again failed to price up today's showcase handicap (Southwell 3.00).

Tomorrow's meeting at Carlisle (waterlogged) is subject to a 1pm inspection today, while Southwell's jump card is subject to an 11am inspection.