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Judge tells millionaire racehorse surgeon’s ex-wife to ‘get a job’

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The ex-wife of a millionaire racehorse surgeon has been told by a judge to get a job as she had “no right to be supported for life” at his expense.

Ian Wright, who works in Newmarket, was ordered to pay £75,000 maintenance and school fees each year when his marriage to Tracey Wright ended in 2008.

But Mr Wright, 59, went to the High Court and won a cut in his bills. Judge Lynn Roberts last year said: “Mrs Wright has made no effort whatsoever to seek work or to update her skills… I am satisfied that she has worked on the basis… that she would be supported for life.”

Mrs Wright appealed the decision to the Court of appeal where the judge upheld the decision, saying divorcees with children over seven should go to work and rejected Mrs Wright’s challenge to the decision to slash her future maintenance.

Mother-of-two and former riding instructor, Mrs Wright, 51, chose not to work when her 11-year-marriage to Mr Wright, ended in 2008. The couple’s £1.3m, seven-bedroom home was sold and the proceeds split. Mrs Wright came away with a £450,000 mortgage-free home, plus stabling for her horse and her daughters’ ponies.

Mr Wright, who runs an equine hospital in Newmarket, argued last year at the High Court it was unfair to expected him to support his ex-wife even after his retirement, while she did not work.

Mark Johnston, for Mrs Wright, protested that having to care for a 10-year-old – the couple’s older daughter being a boarding pupil at a public school – “is an inherent restriction on her ability to develop any kind of earning capacity in the next five years.”

Upholding Judge Roberts’ ruling, however, Lord Justice Pitchford said it was imperative that Mrs Wright support herself.

“There is a general expectation that, once children are in Year Two, mothers can begin part-time work and make a financial contribution,” he said

Lord Justice Pitchford said the order was never intended to provide Mrs Wright with an income for life, and dismissed the appeal.