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GREYHOUNDS: Atkins says move to Swindon makes sense
TERRY Atkins says his move to Swindon was an easy decision.
The Windsor-based handler, pictured above, has had more than 40 years in the sport, which apart from a brief spell at Wembley, has seen 30 of them spent at Oxford.
But an offer to switch to Swindon proved too good to turn down.
Although there is uncertainty over the future of the stadium at Cowley, Atkins was quick to point out that this had nothing to do with his decision to quit.
It does, however, now leave Oxford with grading strength problems.
“I was offered the post at Swindon and it was too good to turn down,” he said.
“At present, my family are subsiding my career with ever-increasing costs, and that will change with the move to Swindon.
“My fuel bill for transport to and from Oxford is about £120 a week, but those costs will be met by Swindon.
“Not only that, the lowest prize money here is £40 as against £59 there.”
Atkins was keen to point out that there was no animosity with Oxford.
“We will part as good friends as Oxford have been very good to me over the years,” he said.
The paddock will certainly be a quieter place as Atkins is one of the most colourful characters in the training ranks.
His departure will heap more pressure on the racing office, who are very short of hounds on the strength at the moment as ten race cards, including three sprints on Friday, seem to be the norm now.
Things have got so bad that at grading on times is being dispensed with for the time being.
Oxford, however, are not the only sufferers with the shortage of hounds. Swindon have been running some ten-race meetings with only five runners, excluding BAGS meetings.