The legendary and record-breaking trainer, who was awarded an OBE in 2011, was due to have his last runners at Nottingham tonight.

Lister said: “It’s something I’ve been talking and thinking about for a while. I had a chat with Ian (Sutherland, assistant) last week and we decided the time was right. There were plenty of tears I can tell you, but it’s the right moment.

“Ian is moving to Manchester with his girlfriend, but Chris (Akers) will stay here and is in the process of applying for a trainer’s licence. He will work together with his partner Vicki, and hopefully they will continue all the great work they’ve been doing.

“I’m indebted to Chris, and will give him as much support as possible, but especially to Ian, who’s been with me for many, many years. We’ve all shared some great times, plenty of highs and lows, and I couldn’t have asked for a better team.”

That team helped Lister, 78, to rewrite the record books with seven English and seven Scottish Derby victories making the Newark-based Yorkshireman the most successful trainer in the sport’s history.

Asked to name the best he has trained; Some Picture is the greyhound who he rates as number one – the brilliant 1997 English and Scottish Derby winner becoming one of the closest ever to landing the ‘impossible dream’.

“He reached the final of the Irish Derby that same year but was a sick dog in the final at Shelbourne,” said Lister of the greyhound who achieved the rare distinction of reaching all three Derby finals in the same year – winning two.

Rapid Ranger also features in Lister’s personal ‘hall of fame’ having won back-to-back Derbys in 2000-2001, at that stage becoming only the third greyhound to do the double following Mick the Miller and Patricias Hope, before Westmead Hawk’s own brace.

Some Picture and Rapid Ranger were followed by Farloe Verdict (2003), Bandicoot Tipoki (2010), Taylors Sky (2011) and Sidaz Jack (2013), all of whom won English Derbys at Wimbledon – and that ‘magnificent seven’ was matched in the Scottish Derby.

Lister’s Shawfield winners are Some Picture (1997), Micks Mystic (2003), Farloe Verdict (2004), Fear Me (2006), Fear Haribo (2007), Taylors Cruise (2011) and Dorotas Woo Hoo (2017) – and he is understandably proud of that achievement.

“I was always made very welcome at Shawfield – they are passionate about their greyhounds up there – and it was the same at Yarmouth. I won 12 East Anglian Derbys – and they treated this Yorkshireman like one of their own!

“We didn’t have a runner there this year – we’ve had a few injuries – but there’s been a gradual slowing down from me anyway. The price of dogs has become crazy and the game has changed in so many ways – not all for the better.

“Of course, I’ll be keeping in touch with things – Chris has the kennels now and, once the licence change comes through, will be travelling around I’ve no doubt. But I’ve had a good go at it. I’m 78 now – and will enjoy life in different ways.

“We’ve a place in Yorkshire, near Filey, and it’s by the seaside. Myself and Pat (Cartledge) have been enjoying our time there more and more, and this will give us chance to spend more time there.

“I’d just like to thank all my owners who have supported me through the years, but especially to my staff – to Ian, whose been like a son to me, and to Pat. It would not have been possible without them.”