Best I Ever Saw: Noel Meade

The seven-time Champion Trainer starts our series asking: who's your GOAT?

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Noel Meade has certainly seen his fair share of good horses

Noel Meade has seen a few horses come and go: he got his licence in 1971, for goodness sake. 

Tu Va was the single horse that started it all off for Meade, who came from farming stock and was not born into the industry as with many of his competitors. 

Since then, legends like Harchibald, Sausalito Bay and Harbour Pilot have all come into his care. 

The iconic trainer is a perfect place to start our new series, in which we ask: 'who is the best you ever saw?'

It might not go down too well, but you have to think Kauto Star was a hell of a horse. Nearly every year he tried to kill himself one way or another, but he was an unbelievable horse. 

But I've got to say - I did see Arkle. It was a long time ago now, but he was the best.

I was only 13 years old and I was there when he won the Irish Grand National in 1964. 

At that time, many thousand people would go to the National at Fairyhouse and half of them would be outside the course. I was in the infield that time and it was a good year to be close to the action.

Nobody in my family had anything to do with racing - we were farmers - but that was our day out. Dad and Mum used to take us to Fairyhouse, we'd park up, have a picnic and watch the racing.

My father was a farmer and so were our neighbours, but I was horse mad from the time I was a kid. 

I just learned as I went on and gradually the farming took a back step. At that age, seeing a horse like Arkle at his very best made a big impression on me. It makes you dream of what could be possible.

He'd won his first Gold Cup that year and the reception he got at Fairyhouse was incredible. We saw Height O'Fashion give him a good race that year. 

We knew he was something special, but maybe not just how special he would be, even to this day. 

We parked up and took a picnic to watch Arkle

- Noel Meade

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