A racing veteran, Noel Meade first began training racehorses in 1971, and it wasn’t all plain sailing to begin with. He was focusing on flat racing at the tie, but when we hit 1978, he was finally starting to get recognition for his work, with Sweet Mint landing a Royal Ascot win for the Irish trainer.
Born on January 2nd, 1951, Meade would stay with flat racing until the 1990s, when his attention turned almost solely to national hunt racing. During this decade, and the one that followed, Meade was in his peak and delivering big race wins, but it is fair to say that many of his runners either never reached their full potential or were unlucky and unable to reach it due to injuries and other circumstances.
Both Tiananmen Square and Cardinal Hill are two prime examples of this. The first named won the Champion Bumper at the Punchestown Festival, looking set to be a star hurdler the following season, but injuries prevented him from ever reaching that level. The second named had won the 1999 Punchestown Champion Novice Hurdle and had the racing world at his feet, destined for greatness before colic sadly took his life.
Horses such as the great Harchibald, Go Native, and others did bring success for Meade, but during those years, and at a time when he had an excellent partnership with jockey Paul Carberry, he perhaps didn’t quite win what he should have done.
The Grand National hasn’t been kind to Meade, he’s yet to get close to winning the race.
Noel Meade Grand National Wins
Noel Meade has never trained a horse that has won the Grand National.
Their best finish to date was in 2018 with Road to Riches ridden by Sean Flanagan who came 6th.
|2023||Diol Ker||Fence 1 - Unseated Rider||-||Kieren Buckley|
|2022||School Boy Hours||Fence 9 - Pulled Up||-||Sean Flanagan|
|2021||Tout Est Permis||Fence 29 - Pulled Up||-||Sean Flanagan|
|2018||Road to Riches||6||£30,000||Sean Flanagan|
|2017||Wounded Warrior||Fence 29 - Pulled Up||-||Sean Flanagan|
|2017||Measureofmydreams||Fence 15 - Unseated Rider||-||Donagh Meyler|
|2006||Sir Oj||Fence 22 - Fell||-||Paul Carberry|
|2005||Arctic Copper||19||-||Davy Russell|
|2004||The Bunny Boiler||10||-||Ross Geraghty|
|2003||The Bunny Boiler||Fence 1 - Unseated Rider||-||John Cullen|
One Of The Best To Not Win The Cheltenham Gold Cup Or Aintree Grand National
If there is one big disappointment in the career of Noel Meade, then it is the fact that he’s not won one of the very big UK races. He’s yet to land the Cheltenham Gold Cup or the Aintree Grand National in his career. Of course, these two races are incredibly tough to win, but with his success elsewhere over the years, it is disappointing to see that Meade hasn’t been close to winning either.
The Champion Hurdle is another one he is yet to win, though racing fans from the early 2000s will certainly remember how close Harchibald came to winning that contest. He should have won but beat himself, losing out to hardy Eustace in the 2005 Champion Hurdle, one of the most dramatic running’s of that race we have ever seen.
In terms of the Grand National, Road To Riches, who finished sixth in 2018, is the closest that Meade has come so far to winning this prize. He’s not had too many runners over the years in this contest but will be a little disappointed with the return of those that have taken their chance during his career.
Success in the UK & Ireland
It’s not all been bad luck for Meade, though, over the years, he’s had an incredible amount of success in good-quality races. He’s won the Irish Champion Trainer title a total of seven times in his career, showing his ability to go out and regularly win at all levels of the sport.
He’s had Cheltenham Festival success over the years, with Sausilito Bay giving him his first Cheltenham Festival winner in 2000, while Go Native winning the same race in 2009, will probably go down as being Meade’s best festival winner.
Of course, most of his success has come in Ireland, though between Harchibald, Go Native and Jazz Messenger, he has a total of four Christmas Hurdle wins at Kempton, and three Fighting Fifth Hurdle wins at Newcastle.
In Ireland, he’s won races such as the Irish Champion Hurdle, Tattersalls Gold Cup, Ryanair Gold Cup, Punchestown Champion Chase, Morgiana Hurdle, Hatton’s Grace Hurdle, Savills Chase and Irish Grand National over the years, a record any trainer would dream of having.
Overall, the Noel Meade CV has plenty of big races on it, some of them won on multiple occasions, but none of the very top races has his name beside them.
Famous Horses Trained by Noel Meade
Here are some of the most famous horses trained by Noel Meade during his career.
The Bunny Boiler