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Oliver Brady

Oliver Brady: colourful character has died aged 75

  PICTURE: Caroline Norris (racingpost.com/photos) 

Flamboyant trainer Oliver Brady dies aged 75

OLIVER BRADY, one of the great characters of Irish racing, has died aged 75 following a brave battle against cancer.

Brady was as well known for his tireless charity work through the Shabra Charity Foundation he founded with Rita Shah as he was for his involvement in racing.

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The colourful County Monaghan trainer became an instant hit with racegoers for his parade ring antics and cries of 'Up Monaghan' after he saddled a winner but there was much more to Brady than that.

Close friend and racecourse commentator Dessie Scahill said: "He was a character and he will be sadly, sadly missed by everybody. 

"The individual you saw at the races was different to the individual behind the scenes, though, and the charity work he did was absolutely phenomenal.

"The money he managed to raise, even in the tough times, was absolutely incredible. Between the preview nights and all the different fundraising events he held, he was able to purchase important machinery for hospitals like the Mater and many others. 

"From a racing point of view, you might be at a race meeting and you might think there would be nobody there but, when Oliver had a winner, they would appear from nowhere and anyone that was there would assemble around the parade ring to see what he would do or say."

Trainer Dermot Weld added his own tribute and said: "Oliver was a good friend and was a wonderful ambassador for racing. But more than anything else he did a huge amount of work for charity. He will be sadly missed."

Brady was a talented trainer, going agonisingly close to winning the County Hurdle at the 2003 Cheltenham Festival with Balapour, only denied by a neck by Spirit Leader, while Baron De Feypo was third in the 2007 Coral Cup.

Luck certainly was not on his side when the well-fancied Ebadiyan ran through the wing of the second-last hurdle when still a few lengths clear in the 2009 Triumph Hurdle won by Zaynar. 

Brady had been battling illness for well over a decade. In 2003, a cyst was found in his stomach and he was told he had six months to live. As well as being a diabetic and suffering problems with his lungs, he also had a quadruple bypass operation but soldiered on and wore the illness lightly. 

Brady forged an excellent working relationship with his close friend and business partner Rita Shah and their Shabra Group has been hugely successful in the plastic recycling, reprocessing and bottle sorting business.

The pair also formed the Shabra Charity which has donated generously to numerous worthy causes over the last few decades. Their annual Cheltenham preview night at the Glencarn Hotel is consistently the best attended preview night in the country.

 
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