|Born||24 March 1910|
Malpas, Cheshire, United Kingdom
|Died||9 May 1987|
|Major racing wins|
| British Classic Race wins as trainer:|
2000 Guineas (2)
1000 Guineas (6)
Epsom Derby (3)
Epsom Oaks (5)
St Leger (3)
|British flat racing Champion Trainer (1948, 1957, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1967, 1968, 1970, 1973)|
|Noel Murless Stakes at Ascot Racecourse|
| Ridge Wood, Princely Gift, Crepello, Carrozza, Petite Etoile, St. Paddy, Twilight Alley,|
Aunt Edith, Fleet, Royal Palace, Busted, Caergwrle, Lupe, Altesse Royale, Mysterious, J. O. Tobin, Jumping Hill
Sir Charles Francis Noel Murless (24 March 1910 –9 May 1987) was a British racehorse trainer.
He began his career as a trainer in 1935 at Hambleton Lodge in Yorkshire before moving to Hambleton House after the war, at one time sharing premises with Ryan Price.In 1947, he moved south, first to Beckhampton, Wiltshire (where he was champion trainer in his first season) and then onto Warren Place, Newmarket (where his one-time son-in-law Henry Cecil would later train).
Murless had nineteen classic wins in England and two in Ireland. Of these there were three Epsom Derby wins, with Crepello (1957), St. Paddy (1960) and Royal Palace (1967). Like his Warren Place successor, he also had an outstanding record in The Oaks, saddling no less than five winners: Carrozza (1957), Petite Etoile (1959), Lupe (1970), Altesse Royale (1971) and Mysterious (1973). His greatest horse was Royal Palace who preceded his Derby success by winning the 2,000 Guineas, to which he added the Eclipse and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes the following year.
In 1952 he became manager of Eve Stud, owned by Sir Victor Sassoon, and was the mastermind behind its racing success. Murless purchased the property from Sir Victor's widow in 1970 and named it Woodditton Stud. Sir Noel continued the practice of standing stallions there, including the top-class racehorses Connaught and Welsh Pageant. The stallion tradition was maintained when the stud was sold to Yong Nam-Seng of Singapore in 1981.
Noel Murless commenced training in 1935, when his first winner was Rubin Wood in the Lee Plate at Lanark Racecourse. He first made his mark as a trainer after the Second World War in 1947 by winning two famous handicaps, the Britannia Stakes at Royal Ascot with Oros and the Steward's Cup at Glorious Goodwood with Closeburn. Oros was a "top class mile handicapper".Closeburn was just below the very best sprinters of 1947 and was placed in the Cork and Orrery and July Cup before winning the Stewards Cup under a record weight at the time for a 3-year-old of 8-10. He went on to win the Challenge Stakes in October, then run over 6 furlongs. The Bloodstock Breeders Review of 1947 said of Closeburn "The credit of breeding the winner goes to his young trainer who, at the end of the season, followed Fred Darling as the "Master" of the famous Beckhampton stable".
1948 was Murless' first season at Beckhampton in Wiltshire after taking over from Fred Darling. There was immediate success with Queenpot winning the 1,000 Guineas and The Cobbler taking second place in the 2,000 Guineas. Three winners at Royal Ascot included a two-year-old Abernant, who was to become one of the finest sprinters of the second half of the century. Other significant winners of the year included Goblet in the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket and the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood, Gold Mist in Doncaster's Portland Handicap and Royal Forest in the Dewhurst Stakes. The move to Beckhampton also led to King George VI becoming one of Noel Murless's owners, for whom he trained three winners in 1948. Noel was Champion Trainer for the first time in 1948 and also had three (Abernant, Royal Forest and Faux Tirage) out of the first four in the Two Year Old Free Handicap for the year.
Noel Murless trained another three years at Beckhampton but was not entirely happy, according to his biographer Tim Fitzgeorge-Parker.Those three years did lead to a second classic winner with Ridge Wood in the 1949 St Leger and the dominance of the sprinting ranks by Abernant, who won the King Stand at Royal Ascot in 1949; July Cup at Newmarket, King George Stakes at Goodwood and Nunthorpe Stakes at York in both 1949 and 1950.
Murless moved to Warren Place in Newmarket towards the end of the 1952 Flat season. Although there were no immediate classic winners, the quality of horses was expected to improve as new high-spending owners became patrons of the yard. These owners included the Aga Khan, and his son Aly Khan who had offered support prior to the move.Murless said of Prince Aly Khan in his biography that he was "highly intelligent, a first class judge of a horse and of form and breeding". Winners in 1953 included the Cork and Orrery with Blood Test at Royal Ascot, and Buckhound in the Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket. The Queen's Landau won the Rous Memorial Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Sussex Stakes at the Glorious Goodwood festival in 1954. In the same year, at Royal Ascot Gordon Richards won the King Edward VII Stakes on Rashleigh, trained by Noel. This race lead ultimately to the up-and-coming young new jockey of the time having his licence removed for six months: that jockey was Lester Piggott who in 1955 would take over as stable jockey for Murless, following Sir Gordon Richards' retirement. Piggott and Murless together would be a dynamic combination in British Flat Racing for the next decade.
A major owner of horses at Warren Place was Sir Victor Sassoon, whose Eve Stud Noel managed. In 1955 Sassoon sent the yearling Crepello to Warren Place. Crepello was to win the Dewhurst Stakes in 1956 and the Two Thousand Guineas plus the Derby in 1957.
1967 was probably Murless' most successful year as a trainer. Victories included three of the home classics, Eclipse and King George. He was Champion Trainer. A win for the Queen's Hopeful Venture in the Wood Ditton at the Craven meeting was followed by victories in the two traditional 1,000 Guineas trials for Cranberry Sauce in the Nell Gwynn, and Royal Saint in the Fred Darling. Busted, who had been drafted into the stable to lead the classic colts, won the Coronation Stakes over 10f at Sandown in April and was deemed too good to continue as a lead horse. The Two Thousand Guineas was won by Royal Palace, and the following day Fleet was victorious in the One Thousand Guineas. Royal Palace went on to win the Derby whilst Busted won the Eclipse, King George VI Diamond Stakes and Prix Foy before tendon injury prevented an attempt at the Arc. 63 races were won with winning stakes of £279,775.
Murless retired in 1976 as trainer of horses and was knighted the following year.
Lester Keith Piggott is a retired English professional jockey. With 4,493 career wins, including nine Epsom Derby victories, he is widely regarded as one of the greatest flat racing jockeys of all time and the originator of a much imitated style. Popularly known as "The Long Fellow" he was known for his competitive personality, keeping himself thirty pounds under his natural weight, and on occasion not sparing the whip on horses such as Roberto in the 1972 Derby. Piggott regarded Sir Ivor as the easiest to ride of the great winners.
Crepello (1954–1974) was a British-bred Thoroughbred racehorse which won England's most prestigious race, the Derby in 1957 and was later a Leading sire in Great Britain & Ireland.
Abernant (1946–1970) was British Thoroughbred racehorse who is "considered by many as the greatest British sprinter of the 20th century," according to Godolphin Racing. In a racing career which lasted from May 1948 until 1950 he ran seventeen times and won fourteen races. He was the best British two-year-old of 1948 and returned from a narrow defeat in the 2000 Guineas to become the dominant sprinter in England in 1949 and 1950.
Joseph Mercer, OBE was an English thoroughbred race horse jockey. He was active as a jockey from 1947 to 1985 and rode a total of 2,810 winners in Britain. Mercer's nickname was "Smokin' Joe".
Petite Etoile was a British Thoroughbred racehorse. In a career which lasted from June 1958 until September 1961 she won fourteen of her nineteen races and finished second in the other five. After showing promising, but unexceptional form in 1958, she improved to be the British Horse of the Year in 1959, winning all six of her races including the Classic 1000 Guineas and Epsom Oaks. She remained in training for two further seasons, winning major races including consecutive runnings of the Coronation Cup.
Sixties Icon, is a retired British Thoroughbred racehorse and active sire. In a career which lasted from April 2006 until November 2008, he ran seventeen times and won eight races. He recorded his most important victory when winning the Classic St. Leger Stakes as a three-year-old. He won five other Group Races before being retired to stud.
Carrozza was a British Thoroughbred racehorse. In a racing career lasting from May 1956 until July 1957, the filly ran seven times and won three races for her owner Queen Elizabeth II. As a three-year-old she finished fourth in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket before winning Oaks at Epsom. She was retired to stud after one further race and had some success as a broodmare.
Humble Duty (1967–1975) was an Irish-bred, British-trained Thoroughbred racehorse. In a racing career lasting from May 1969 until September 1970, the filly ran eleven times and won eight races. As a two-year-old she was rated the best of her age and sex in Britain after winning the Lowther Stakes at York and the Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket. In the following season she won five races, all over one mile, including the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket, the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood. She was retired to stud at the end of that season, but had little chance to make an impact as a broodmare, dying in 1975 at the age of eight.
Caergwrle was a British Thoroughbred racehorse. In a racing career lasting from July 1967 until June 1968, the filly ran six times and won three races. After winning once as a two-year-old she showed improved form in the spring of 1968 to win the Classic 1000 Guineas at Newmarket Racecourse. Caergwrle was beaten in her only subsequent race and was retired to stud where she had limited success as a broodmare.
Abermaid was an Irish-bred, British-trained Thoroughbred racehorse and broodmare who won the classic 1000 Guineas in 1962. In a racing career lasting from the spring of 1961 until July 1962, the filly ran eight times and won four races. As a two-year-old in 1961, Abermaid was unbeaten in three races including the New Stakes at Royal Ascot. After running poorly on her three-year-old debut she recorded an upset win in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket Racecourse in May. She was placed in her three remaining races before being retired to stud where she had some success as a broodmare.
Fleet, known in the United States as Fleet II, was an Irish-bred, British-trained Thoroughbred racehorse and broodmare who won the classic 1000 Guineas in 1967. In a racing career lasting from June 1966 until July 1967, the filly contested nine races and won five times. As a two-year-old in 1966, Fleet won two of her three races including the Cheveley Park Stakes and was the highest rated filly of her age in Britain. In the following year she won three races over a distance of one mile including the 1000 Guineas and the Coronation Stakes. When tried over longer distances she finished fourth in The Oaks and Eclipse Stakes. She was retired to stud where she had some success as a broodmare in Britain and the United States.
Petingo (1965–1976) was a British Thoroughbred racehorse and sire. In a racing career which lasted from June 1967 until August 1968 he ran nine times and won six races. In 1967 he was unbeaten in three starts including the Gimcrack Stakes and the Middle Park Stakes and was officially rated the best two-year-old in Britain. In the following year he was defeated by Sir Ivor in the 2000 Guineas but won the St. James's Palace Stakes and the Sussex Stakes. He was then retired to stud where he proved to be a very successful stallion before his death at the age of eleven.
Princely Gift (1951–1973) was a British Thoroughbred racehorse and sire. In a racing career which lasted from 1953 until 1955 he ran twenty-three times and won nine races. After showing good, but unexceptional form in his first two seasons, he improved significantly in the summer of 1955 and ended his career with a record-breaking win in the Portland Handicap. Having been awarded one of the highest Timeform figures of the decade, Princely Gift was retired to stud at the end of the season and had considerable success as a sire of winners.
Aurelius was an Irish Thoroughbred racehorse and sire best known for winning the classic St Leger Stakes in 1961 and for becoming one of the few classic winners to compete in steeplechases. As a two-year-old he finished fourth in his only appearance but was one of the best colts in Britain in the following year, winning the Craven Stakes and the King Edward VII Stakes before taking the St Leger. He was even better in 1962 when he won the Hardwicke Stakes and was narrowly beaten in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. He was retired to stud but had serious fertility problems and later returned to the racecourse where he had a reasonably successful career in National Hunt racing.
Ridge Wood (1946–1956) was a British Thoroughbred racehorse best known for winning the classic St Leger Stakes in 1949. The colt was rejected by his prospective owner as a yearling and failed to win as a two-year-old in 1948. Even after winning five of his first six races as a three-year-old he was not regarded as a top-class performer even by his trainer, who only ran him in the St Leger when a more fancied stable companion was injured. After winning the Leger as a 14/1 outsider, Ridge Wood was defeated in his only subsequent start and was retired to stud, where he was a failure as a breeding stallion. He died at the age of ten in 1956.
Twilight Alley was a British Thoroughbred racehorse and sire. A series of physical problems restricted him to four races a track career which lasted from July 1962 to July 1963. On his third racecourse appearance he defeated a strong field to win Britain's most important long-distance race, the Ascot Gold Cup. He broke down injured on his only subsequent appearance and was retired to stud where he had some success as a sire of steeplechasers.
Connaught was a British Thoroughbred racehorse and sire. Noted for his difficult temperament and front-running style he won seven of his sixteen races in a track career which lasted from October 1967 to July 1970. Owned and bred by Jim Joel, he was trained by Noel Murless and ridden in most of his races by Sandy Barclay.
Attica Meli was an Irish-bred British-trained Thoroughbred racehorse and broodmare. Owned by Louis Freedman and trained by Noel Murless she won seven of her fifteen races and was regarded as the best British filly of her generation at both three and four years of age. She took time to show her best form but in the second half of 1972 she won five consecutive races including the Yorkshire Oaks, Park Hill Stakes and Princess Royal Stakes. In the following year she finished second in the Coronation Cup and the Hardwicke Stakes before stepping up in distance to record decisive wins over male opponents in the Geoffrey Freer Stakes and the Doncaster Cup. She was retired from racing at the end of 1973 and had some influence as a broodmare.
Queenpot was a British Thoroughbred racehorse and broodmare. She won three times as a juvenile in 1947, with her biggest success of the year coming in the Prendergast Stakes at Newmarket Racecourse. In the following spring she took the Katheryn Howard Stakes before recording her most significant victory in the 1000 Guineas. As a broodmare she produced several minor winners including the dam of Northjet.
Eric Ephraim Smith was an English flat racing jockey, who rode over 2000 winners, including the winners of three Classics, in a career spanning over 30 years.
Fitzgeorge-Parker, Tim (December 1980). Guv'Nor: A Biography of Sir Noel Murless. Wm Collins & Sons & Co. ISBN 978-0-00-216296-8.