THE victory parade of the Randox Grand National winner Noble Yeats in Leighlinbridge last Sunday evening was a joyous occasion.

The seven-year-old’s trainer Emmet Mullins and his friends and family were there, together with the horse’s proud owner Robert Waley-Cohen and his amateur rider son Sam, and they were joined by hordes of locals keen to congratulate them.

Emmet was surprised by the number of people who had their tenner on the 50/1 shot “just in case.” and there was plenty of talk about the trainer’s ambitious plan in targeting the race so early. In the car park of The Lord Bagenal the minutes ticked down to Noble Yeats’s arrival but still no show at well past six o’clock.

Emmet’s uncle Maurice Phelan was one of the first into the hotel, followed a few minutes later by his aunt Sandra and her husband Peter McCarthy. The trainer’s cousin David, successful in the Grand National for Mouse Morris six years ago aboard Rule The World, slipped by almost un-noticed.

Since his retirement, David has kept himself busy buying and selling horses as well as riding two lots every morning for Emmet. He reflected: “This brings back some memories but, fair play to Emmet, he mapped it out from day one after the horse won his beginners’ chase.

“He only has a maximum of 30 horses and what he’s done with The Shunter winning in Cheltenham and this one wining the Grand National is unbelievable.”


Robert Waley-Cohen flew in that afternoon by helicopter in company with his sons Sam and Marcus and the Randox trophy.

They were soon soaking up the atmosphere and it wasn’t long before all three had a pint of Guinness in their grip. “It does taste better here,” was Robert’s verdict.

He was more than happy to be present, commenting: “It’s never going to happen to us again for a long time and we’re revelling in the pleasure.”

The owner reported that Noble Yeats came out of his Aintree exertions unscathed, apart from losing a hind shoe and the pride he felt in his son’s achievements was evident.

“He’s 40 on Friday (15th) and he’s been at it a long time. He’s a busy man now, running a personal dental practice with 4,000 employees and 250 practices in five countries, including Ireland.”

Sam was chatting to Niall Madden, who won the National in 2006 on Luckysixvalverde.

He said: “Every year when you watch it, you see the replays and it brings back massive memories. It’s one of those races you never forget winning and the hairs stand up on the back of your neck.”

Then, just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, last year’s winning rider Rachael Blackmore arrived, fresh from her double at Tramore.


The crowd was becoming impatient now, eager for a glimpse of racing’s latest superstars and cheers and a round of applause went up as Emmet rounded the corner, followed by Noble Yeats in his horsebox.

Everyone wanted to shake his hand and take selfies and a group of teenage girls began chanting his name. Then, all of a sudden, there was a hush as Noble Yeats’s pricked ears were visible.

Impeccably behaved, he never turned a hair as hundreds of phones were held aloft and his fans pressed forward. One young girl unfortunately missed out, wailing to her mother that all she had managed to capture was an image of herself “and the horse’s bottom!”

Mick Molloy, who travelled to Aintree with Emmet’s two runners, was in full flight and Robert Waley-Cohen said: “He taught us a good Irish jig,” referring to the social media video of Mick celebrating during the closing stages of the race.

No-one knows more about horse transport than George and he took care of all the travel arrangements, admitting the following evening: “It was great, the stuff of a lifetime. He had it planned in his head for over a year and it worked but, if you don’t think positive, it won’t happen.

“It doesn’t always but Paul Byrne, a friend of Patrick’s when he was at college in Dublin, is a great help to him and always looking out for him.

“Emmet doesn’t want to train 200 horses but it’s very hard to make a living at it with such a small number. Still whatever will be, will be and it was a fairytale for Sam - how many people go out on a high note like that?”