On the record: Noel Meade, Cristian Demuro, Roger Varian and more …

• The week’s significant milestones, facts and figures

Horse Racing Noel Meade trainer
Noel Meade: G1 breakthrough on the Flat after 50 years of trying. Photo: Horse Racing Ireland

70 Noel Meade

Ireland: Eight-time Irish champion jumps trainer Noel Meade achieved the ambition of a lifetime on Sunday [May 23] at the age of 70 when he saddled his first G1 winner on the Flat as Helvic Dream won the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh.

Meade started training with just one horse, Tu Va, who became his first winner at Wexford in August 1971. Having begun mostly with Flat horses, he concentrated on jumping from the early 1990s. 

“I shall die happy now – I was roaring!” said the trainer after Helvic Dream’s success under Colin Keane. “I’ve had a number of horses placed in Guineas, and a fourth in the Epsom Derby, but that is my first Group 1. I was afraid to even dream about it – I’m thrilled and it means a lot.”

5 Cristian Demuro

Italy: Cristian Demuro may now be based in France but that didn’t stop the dual Italian champion jockey going back to Rome to claim his fifth Derby Italiano in seven years at the Capannelle on Sunday [May 23] aboard Tokyo Gold.

The winner, who scored by fourth lengths to win the G2 Classic from Juan De Montalban, is trained in France by expat Japanese trainer Satoshi Kobayashi. Demuro, 28, had previously won the Italian Derby on Goldstream (2015), Mac Mahon (2017), Summer Festival (2018) and Keep On Fly (2019).

Tokyo Gold’s success completed a notable round-the-world Classic double for the Demuro on Sunday, as hours earlier Cristian’s older brother Mirco (a five-time Italian champ) had won his 33rd G1 event on the Japan Racing Association circuit with Uberleben in the Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) at Tokyo racecourse.

1,000 Roger Varian

GB: Leading trainer Roger Varian was claiming his 1,000th career success as the progressive Raadobarg won the Casumo Today Silver Bowl at Haydock on Saturday [May 22].

Newmarket-based Varian, 42, took over at Kremlin House in 2011 when mentor Michael Jarvis retired owing to poor health.

“That is our 1,000th winner in total including international winners,” he said. “It is a great landmark to reach. When you start training, a thousand winners seems a long way away.

“Nahrain winning the Opera, a G1 in our first season, was very special. Kingston Hill winning the St Leger, our first and only Classic so far, was also special, as was Postponed winning the Sheema Classic and Juddmonte International.”

45 Aidan O’Brien

Ireland: Empress Josephine beat stablemate Joan Of Arc to land a one-two for Aidan O’Brien in the Irish 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh on Sunday [May 23].

She was the trainer’s tenth winner of the race after Classic Park (1997), Imagine (2001), Yesterday (2003), Halfway To Heaven (2008), Misty For Me (2011), Marvellous (2014), Winter (2017), Hermosa (2019) and Peaceful (2021).

O’Brien has now trained a total of 45 Irish Classic winners: 1,000 Guineas (10), 2,000 Guineas (11), Derby (14), Oaks (5) and St Leger (5). He also has 39 Classic winners in the UK.

14 Melody Belle

Australia: Top New Zealand racemare Melody Belle was retired after finishing fifth behind runaway winner Zaaki in the Doomben Cup in Brisbane on Saturday [May 22].

A 14-time G1 winner trained by Jamie Richards for Te Akau Racing,  she was sold for A$2.6m (£1.42m) to Yulong Investments at the Magic Millions Broodmare Sale on the Gold Coast sale on Tuesday [May 25]. 

Melody Belle will visit Yulong’s flagship stallion Written Tycoon. “I think the timing was right to retire her now, and she’s gone out safe and sound,” said jockey Opie Bosson, who won nine races on the popular six-year-old.

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