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NEWS: Trainers pay tribute to racehorse owner Herb Stanley
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NEWS: Trainers pay tribute to racehorse owner Herb Stanley
on 04 January 2019
The owner of Merry Gale, Derrymoyle and Captain's Joy was "a trainer's dream"

RACEHORSE owner Herb Stanley has passed away. His health had been failing in recent years and he would have been 82 this month.

Originally from Canada, he came to Ireland in the 1960s to work on the exploration of the Tynagh mine and silver mines in Co Galway. He founded Irish Drilling and settled in Loughrea.

He had horses with many trainers over the years but was most closely associated with Jim Dreaper and Michael Cunningham.

Dreaper’s best horse for him was undoubtedly Merry Gale, winner of 10 blacktype races in the 1990s including Grade 1 chases at Fairyhouse and Punchestown, and a Grade 2 chase at Aintree’s Grand National meeting.


“Herb was a great sportsman in every sense,” Dreaper said. “He took defeat and victory in the same good humour.

“He didn’t pretend to know everything about horses – he would just say ‘tell me when it’s running and I will be there’. He was a wonderful man, a sportsman to the core, and he had a lovely family.”

Michael Cunningham trained Derrymoyle to win the Grade 1 Stayers’ Hurdle at Punchestown three times between 1995 and 1998. Fiddlers Tune and Nuzum Road Makers were other big-race winners they shared.

Describing the owner as “a trainer’s dream”, Cunningham said: “He was a wonderful man and a great supporter of Irish racing, often at times when things weren’t so good. He knew how to celebrate and quite often any winnings would be spent in the local town after racing. Every trainer would want an owner like Herb Stanley.”

Tracey Collins and Henry de Bromhead provided him with his more recent winners. He had been a long-time friend of the Collins family and Tracey described his passing as “very upsetting news”. She trained Captain Joy to win 10 races in the Stanley silks, including the All-Weather Finals Mile at Lingfield on Good Friday, 2016.

“He was an absolute gentleman, a wonderful family man,” she said.

“You couldn’t have met a more generous and delightful person. He was lovely to work with and he loved Irish racing. His zest for life was phenomenal and infectious. Herb was a real character and they don’t make them like that anymore.”

In 2012 Herb Stanley was honoured by the ITBA Western Region with a Contribution to the Industry Award.

The following death notice is taken from

Herb Stanley (Gort Road, Loughrea, Co. Galway formerly of Beckwith, Ontario, Canada and Irish Drilling Loughrea LTD), January 3rd 2019 after a long illness bravely borne, loving husband of Emily, cherished Dad to Lillian & Avril, brother of his twin Hannah and Lillian (Ottawa), devoted grandfather of Caimin, Tiernan, Cullen and Jarah. Sadly missed by son-in-law Ronan and Shantanu, and many relatives and friends.

Herb will lie in repose at Kilboy’s Funeral home Loughrea (H62 KF62) on Saturday January 5th from 4pm until 7pm. Funeral cortege will arrive at St. Brendan’s Cathedral, Loughrea on Sunday January 6th for Funeral Mass at 2.30pm. Burial afterwards in Mount Pleasant Cemetery.

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