Clive Brittain saddles final runner at Newbury

Clive Brittain made a quiet exit from the sport and profession of which he has been one of the outstanding pioneers when he sent out his final runner at Newbury on Saturday.

Acclio, who delivered the Newmarket trainer's most recent winner at Yarmouth last month, finished down the field in the Worthington's Highfield Social Club Bicester EBF Stallions Fillies' Handicap (4.45).

Brittain, 81, and the holder of a training licence since 1972, will now head off into retirement with one overriding priority: to care for his wife Maureen, who has been struck down by dementia.

As a result he was not at Newbury but in the company of his wife of 58 years, whose illness became the catalyst for his decision to end an outstanding career in which he has trained six British Classic winners and captured a host of other big races in Britain and around the world.

Brittain began training in 1972 after rising from the ranks of stable lad to Sir Noel Murless, for whom he worked for 23 years. The move was part-funded by winnings from a bet on the 1971 Oaks winner Altesse Royale,

He has enjoyed a career peppered with big-race triumphs - often followed by a trademark celebration dance - from the likes of Julio Mariner, his first Classic winner, Pebbles, Jupiter Island, Warrsan, Mystiko, User Friendly and Sayyedati to his most recent, Rizeena.

Brittain tributes from his peers

Ralph Beckett
He's an example to us all. He did it from nothing and is a real inspiration. If I train half as many Group 1 winners as he has I'll be perfectly happy.

James Fanshawe
Clive is a top man. He had a wonderful career and Maureen and he were a wonderful team. With his happy-go-lucky demeanour it was easy to underestimate what a formidable trainer he was.

Gay Kelleway
I owe Clive everything because he gave me my first chance and I rode a winner for him. I walked into his yard at 17 and he gave me a chance when my dad wouldn't. I'm very fond of Clive and Maureen.