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    Webber ends his lengthy and fruitful career as a trainer
Webber ends his lengthy and fruitful career as a trainer
Webber ends his lengthy and fruitful career as a trainer. Source: attheraces.com

Webber ends his lengthy and fruitful career as a trainer

Trainer Paul Webber, who has won both the Royal Ascot and the Cheltenham Festival, will give up his licence in early June, marking the end of nearly 28 years as the owner and operator of the charming Cropredy Lawn racing stables and farm.

The passing of Webber's mother Diana in 2022 hastened his decision.

Paul, Anthony, and Sally had to split her share since she was an equal partner in the 227-acre property near Banbury.

Next month, the entire property will be listed for sale, indicating the end of a personal chapter for 65-year-old Webber, who has lived there his entire life save for a "hugely enjoyable" period from 1983 to 1995, during which he worked as Jeremy Hindley's assistant and spent ten years with the Curragh Bloodstock Agency.

Webber will not be abandoned by racing, even though he and his wife Ku will be sad to leave the stables because he intends to assist nearby trainer Billy Aprahamian.

A few of Webber's horse owners are excited to transfer their mounts to Aprahamian, who works out of Adstone, close to Towcester, and served as Nicky Henderson's assistant for three years. Webber's remaining string will be included in the upcoming Goffs UK May sale.

Explaining the reasons behind his decision, Webber said: “Ever since my father died suddenly in May 1995, I felt I was a ‘guardian’ here and that one day my mother’s will would have to be satisfied. We developed the yard from 34 stables to 62, built an equine swimming pool, an all-weather gallop, turn-out paddocks and a water-walk, whilst still knowing the day of reckoning would come. It is a terribly difficult decision to sell, but no matter how we struggle with permutations and ideas, the sums just don’t add up and there is no other way. Sadly, our numbers have dwindled in the past couple of years and we are not doing well enough to keep the place going. Cropredy is a gorgeous place to train from, but the upkeep is never-ending and whenever things go well, most trainers just plough it back into their business. Ku has her very successful glamping business, which we hope to continue somewhere, and I have my racing and bloodstock contacts to pursue.”

Over the majority of Webber's tenure, Cropredy Lawn has housed numerous winners under both racing codes, such as Indefatigable, the Festival winner, and Ulundi and Full House, scorers at Royal Ascot.

Ulundi won the 2002 Wolferton Stakes, the Full House Stakes at Ascot five years later, and the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle with Indefatigable.

Although that specific victory ought to have improved Webber's situation, it did so at the incorrect time.

He explained: “It was the last race before the Covid-19 pandemic struck and we were not really able to capitalise on it in the way we would have done in normal circumstances. We actually didn’t benefit in the way that might have seen us getting back to having ‘Saturday winners’. I must admit though, that winner helped to keep us cheerful for the first few months of lockdown.”

Webber was a well-known bloodstock agent before training, and he anticipates that his new professional advancements will give him more time to work with bloodstock and maintain relationships with past clients.

He said: “Most importantly, I wish to thank the wonderful members of my team that have made everything possible over the years. Their hard work and support have been completely invaluable and critical to any and every success we have enjoyed together. I also express enormous gratitude to the myriad of owners for whom we have trained, and whose patience I must have severely tested over the years.”

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