(1948 - ) Induction 2019
Image source: Racing Photos
John Francis Meagher (born 1948) achieved success at the highest level in a long training career in Australia and Singapore. More than 25 Group 1 victories include a Melbourne Cup and a Singapore Gold Cup. He also trained a Grand National Hurdle winner.
The Meaghers were a racing family originating from Wangaratta district. Two of John’s uncles were cross-country jockeys in Melbourne between the wars, as was his father Jack (John Leslie) Meagher.
After the Second World War, Jack – who had endured more than three years as a prisoner of war – turned to training and was best known for the mare Saxony, who ran third in the 1948 Melbourne Cup.
In the mid 1960s John Meagher was apprenticed as a jockey to his father at Mentone, but his riding career was brief. He obtained his own training licence in 1971, patiently building a reputation. Top sprinter Maniple was an early prolific winner for him.
Meagher’s first Group 1 training victory came with Ranger’s Son in the 1983 Marlboro Cup (Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes) at Caulfield. Lloyd Williams soon engaged Meagher as private trainer, and with What A Nuisance the stable won the first sponsored, million-dollar Melbourne Cup in 1985. Continuing success followed in seven years with Williams. Drought won the 1986 Peter Pan Stakes and was narrowly beaten by Raveneux in the Victoria Derby. Major Drive won the 1987 Sydney Cup.
Meagher relocated his stables from Epsom to Chicquita Lodge at Flemington in 1989. Between successes were near misses in big races with imported horses including Regimental March, Shantaroun and Nayrizi.
Resuming independently in 1991, Meagher maintained a large stable. large stable and had an early surprise winner when Connorvila who took the Grand National Hurdle at Flemington. The run of success continued when Star of the Realm won the 1991 Victoria Derby. Other top Meagher horses in the decade included Golden Sword (1993 Epsom and Toorak Handicaps) and Daacha (1995 Sydney Cup).
Meagher memorably trained five winners on the final day of the 1993 Flemington Spring Carnival.
From 1999 Meagher trained for 11 years in Singapore, producing nearly 600 winners including Kim’s Angel in the 2000 Singapore Gold Cup beforereturning to Australia in 2011and established training partnership with sons Chris and Dan, with stables in both Victoria and Queensland.
John Meagher quietly mentored future champion jockeys as apprentices, notably Steven King and Brett Prebble.
“He’ll go anywhere to saddle up a winner; to get the best results for his owners”. Ian Eddington, Turf Monthly
Induction into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame is the industry's highest accolade.
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