Racing: Walker on route for Cup

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The Independent Online
A MASS dispersal of horses trained by Arthur Stephenson, who died two weeks ago, is to take place in the spring, it was announced yesterday.

Fifty horses registered in the sole name of Stephenson were taken out of training on Monday and will go to public auction. Other stock owned by him will be sold at the same time.

Horses part-owned by Stephenson - including Gold Cup hope Blazing Walker - will remain in training for the immediate future with the late trainer's nephew, Peter Cheesbrough, who confirmed yesterday that he will continue until the end of the season.

Cheesbrough added: 'The horses to be sold are mainly youngsters and many of them had not actually reached the racecourse. All the horses where my uncle had a half-share will continue to race.'

There is still no decision, however, over the future of his late uncle's Crawleas Farm stables at Leasingthorne, County Durham.

Details of the dispersal of the horses were revealed in a statement which said: 'The family wishes it to be known that in no circumstances are they willing to consider private sales of any horses. All horses are to be sold and all will be sold by public auction. The family request that no personal approaches be made with a view to attempting to arrange viewing and negotiating private sales.'

Peter Piller, the principal owner in the yard and part-owner of Blazing Walker, said: 'The horse should be ready to run at the end of January or the beginning of February. He'll need a few races to come to his peak but it would be nice to think he'd be able to run in the Gold Cup. If not, Aintree would be a possibility.'