hall in picture to fill trainer vacancy

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 May, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 May, 2004, 12:00am

The Jockey Club is expected to announce a new trainer in the coming days to fill the vacancy left in next season's roster by Ivan Allan's retirement. 'We will organise a meeting of the Licensing Committee as soon as possible to discuss the situation, but the reality is that you can't have one of your major stables close and not leave a void,' executive director of racing Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges confirmed yesterday after receiving Allan's letter to withdraw his licence application.

'We have already had some discussions in the Racing Committee on our future plans in this area. It is now highly likely another trainer will be licensed for next season, to ensure our owners have the broad choice they expect.'

New Zealand's Paul O'Sullivan and David Hayes' assistant trainer, Almond Lee Yee-tat, were newly licensed last week for the 2004-05 season, filling the gaps left by the departure of Geoff Lane and Eddie Lo Kwok-chow at season's end.

At that time, it was not expected that any further licence would be issued for next term but Allan's bombshell on Sunday has altered the landscape.

As the club has in the recent past pursued a policy of replacing a departing expatriate trainer with another expatriate, Australia's Melbourne Cup-winning trainer David Hall must come strongly into calculations for the vacancy.