Racehorse trainer Oliver Brady dies, aged 75
Flamboyant Monaghan man fought cancer and heart disease for over a decade
Oliver Brady celebrating his third place with Baron de Feypo in the Coral Cup at Cheltenham. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/Irish Times
The death has taken place of racehorse trainer and businessman Oliver Brady. The county Monaghan handler, who was one of racing’s most flamboyant characters, died last night after a long and well-publicised battle with illness. He was 75.
Brady fought through cancer and heart disease for over a decade. He was given six months to live in 2003 and had a quadruple bypass in 2008. But throughout his long period of convalescence, he remained one of the sport’s truly engaging figures.
Along with Kenyan business partner Rita Shah, Brady set up Shabra Plastics on the outskirts of Castleblayney in 1986 and between them they built it up to be a mutli-million-euro firm. As a sideline, the pair got involved with horses, with Shah the principle investor and Brady the trainer.
Despite Monaghan being far from a racing hotbed, Brady had always taken a keen interest in the sport. He famously came home from a trip to the Cheltenham Festival in 1981 with pockets bulging to the tune of (IR)£100,000, which he used to build a house and stables in Ballybay.
In time, he ran his training operation from there and although it never grew to any appreciable size, he did have some decent successes along the way.
His life’s dream was to have a winner at Cheltenham, a prize he came closest to when Baron De Feypo ran third in the Coral Cup in 2007. For Brady it was enough cause for celebration that bemused Cotswolds punters were treated to the sight of him removing his shirt in the winners’ enclosure to reveal a Monaghan jersey underneath.
Otherwise, his successes were mostly away from the spotlight. Horses like Maralan, Ebediyan and Balapour won races at Grade 2 and Grade 3 level but the horse of a lifetime stubbornly refused to show up for Brady. Nonetheless, he continued to train them and run them and had his last winner at Down Royal in May, Shabra Charity winning by a head of Coldstonesober.
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