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‘I think about them every day’ – heartbroken horse trainer still coming to terms with deaths of two members of staff

TRAINER Warren Greatrex has revealed he is still coming to terms with the tragic death of two members of his stable staff.

Greatrex and his team at Rhonehurst Stables had to deal with the heartbreaking loss of two of their colleagues in the space of seven months.

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Amateur jockey Michael Pitt, 19, was found dead at a petrol station in Hungerford in July 2021, just a few miles from Greatrex’s Lambourn yard.

And in February this year, stable lad David Thompson, 25, was found dead in Lambourn.

Greatrex, whose career highlights include the 2015 World Hurdle at Cheltenham with Cole Harden, was understandably hit hard by the deaths of both men.

He was overcome with emotion when having a big winner at Newbury last month.

And he explained that the passing of both Thompson and Pitt was still on his mind.

Greatrex told the Racing Post: “Michael was just as we’d moved to Rhonehurst. That was horrible.

“He was such a character and to lose him – at a similar age to my boys – knocked everyone. It wasn’t easy.

“Michael was a happy lad and it hit us, but David’s death hit me so hard.

“I remember the policeman coming round and saying it was him and having to go out to the same members of staff and tell them in the same spot a member of their team had gone, and seeing them hit the floor again. It’s as hard as anything I’ve been through in my life.

“To see the staff stick together made me proud. They work for me, but I count them as family.

“You feel responsible for them and when two of them are gone, there are definitely questions. ‘What have I done?’ you ask, but David wrote a letter saying the happiest days of his life were here.

“That gave me strength. I think it made the staff proud and feel good he was happy here, but there wouldn’t be a day that goes by without me thinking about those boys and their families.

“If someone wanted to throw everything they could at me last season, they did, but it wasn’t just me – they threw it at all of us.

“You can shrink or come back fighting and I’ve learned a lot about myself in the last year.”

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