Friday 21 April 2017

Brian Meehan: Part of the Furniture

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.

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