Friday 21 April 2017

Brian Meehan: Part of the Furniture

Brian Meehan horse trainer
Born in Limerick in 1967, Brian Meehan worked for the Irish National Stud before joining Richard Hannon as assistant trainer in 1987. Five years later, he set up his own training business in Lambourn with a string of just eight horses.

He made a bright start to his training career, winning his first Listed race with Amaretto Bay in the National Stakes at Sandown in May, 1995, and his first Pattern race with Tumbleweed Ridge in the Horris Hill Stakes at Newbury the following October. He had to wait a little while for his first Group 1 winner, Tomba, in the Prix de la Foret at Longchamp three years later but, by that time, was firmly established in the training ranks.

In 2005, Meehan earned over £1 million in total prize money for the first time. Highlights of that season included wins for Johnny The Fish in the £300,000 St Leger Yearling Stakes at Doncaster, Donna Blini in the Sky Bet Cheveley Park Stakes and David Junior in the Emirates Airline Champion Stakes, both at Newmarket.

Evidently, his efforts did not go unnoticed because, in 1996, Meehan was recruited by the Sangster Family to take over Manton House Stables – a state-of-the-art training facility surrounded by one of the finest country estates in Britain – near Marlborough, Wiltshire. Remarkably, in March, just weeks after moving in, Meehan saddled David Junior to win the Dubai Duty Free, worth nearly £1.75 million to the winner, at Nad Al Sheba in the United Arab Emirates. In July, David Junior also won the Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown and, in November, Red Rocks won the John Deere Breeders’ Cup Turf at Churchill Downs, Kentucky to round off a memorable first year at Manton.

Other notable winners have included Crowded House in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster in 2008, Arcano in the Darley Prix Morny at Deauville in 2009, Dangerous Midge in the Emirates Airlines Breeders’ Cup Turf at Churchill Downs and Most Improved in the St. James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.
In early 2015, Paul Clarke bought the Manton Estate from the Sangster Family and, thereafter, Meehan leased his 90-box training facility from the new owner. However, in October, 2017, he announced that he would buying his yard and gallops. He said, “I’ve been a fixture here for years; now I’ll be a very much more permanent fixture. I’m here for the duration.” Meehan has been building up the number of horses in his yard, without sacrificing quality, in recent times and will have a string of about 90 for 2018.

Wednesday 12 April 2017

Amanda Perrett: Boss Lady

Amanda Perrett horse trainer
Amanda Perrett, née Harwood, is the daughter of Guy Harwood – trainer of 1986 European Horse of the Year Dancing Brave, to name but one – and took over the training licence at Coombelands Stables in Pulborough, West Sussex when he retired in 1996. Amanda is married to former jockey Mark Perrett, who was closely associated with her father throughout his riding career and rode many winners for Stan Mellor and Martin Pipe. Perrett now fills the role of assistant trainer.

Prior to taking out a training licence, Amanda was an accomplished amateur jockey, riding 54 winners under Rules and another 40 in the point-to-point sphere. She also had the distinction of being the first female jockey to ride in the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, finishing eighth, beaten 21 lengths, on Vagador, trained by her father, in 1990.

Amanda saddled her first winner as a trainer, Hoofprints, in a median auction maiden stakes race at Lingfield in October, 1996, back in the days of the original Equitrack all-weather surface. She trained her first Group winner, Indian Ridge, in the Earl of Sefton Stakes at Newmarket in April, 2000. In fact, Indian Ridge was far and away the best horse she trained for a few years, winning eight races, including Group 1 successes in the Emirates Prix du Moulin de Longchamp and the Prix de la Foret, also at the Paris course, in 2000.

That same year, Amanda also won the Tote Chester Cup with Bangalore, the Tote International Stakes with Tillerman and the Tote Ebor. She reached her zenith two years later, finishing the 2002 Flat season with 60 winners and nearly £807,000 in total prize money. Highlights that year included victories for Bangalore in the Foster’s Lager Northumberland Plate at Newcastle, Tillerman in the Celebration Mile at Goodwood and Welsh Diva in the Premio Sergio Cumani at San Siro, Italy.

Tungsten Strike was another good moneyspinner for the yard, winning eight races, including the World Bet Exchange Henry II Stakes at Sandown and the Woodcote Stud Sagaro Stakes at Ascot, between 2004 and 2008, and earning just over £287,000 in win and place prize money.

More recently, Amanda has enjoyed further high profile successes with Astronereus, in John Smith’s Silver Cup at York and Zhui Feng, in the £200,000 Tattersalls Millions Median Auction Trophy at Newmarket, in 2015 and the same two horses, in the Al Raayan Stakes at Newbury in 2016 and the Royal Hunt Cup at Ascot in 2017, respectively.