For the uninitiated, Noble Yeats is a 7-year-old gelding, owned by Robert Waley-Cohen and trained by Emmet Mullins in Bagenalstown, Co. Carlow, who won the Grand National in 2022. Noble Yeats is bred to be a champion steeplechaser, being by one outstanding National Hunt sire, Yeats, out of a mare by another, Flemensfirth. However, he did not jump a regulation fence until October, 2021 and had the distinction of being the first 7-year-old to win the National since Bogskar in 1940. The gambling arena was a different world then, no online casinos to speak of, no daily televised racing either.
Narrowly beaten on his sole point-to-point start, Noble Yeats was subsequently sold for £75,000 at the Tattersalls Cheltenham Sale and made his racecourse debut, in the colours of Paul Byrne, in a Limerick ‘bumper’ on December 30, 2020. He was beaten favourite on that occasion but, stepped up in distance, kept on strongly to win a similar contest at Thurles by 19 lengths on his second start. He also won easily on his hurdling debut at Navan two starts later. Even leroijohnny casino en linge lovers would be able to appreciate this sporting talent.
Sent straight over fences at the start of the 2021/22 season, Noble Yeats won, albeit narrowly, on his debut, but didn’t trouble the judge again until finishing second, beaten 5½ lengths, behind impressive winner Ahoy Senor in the Grade 2 Towton Novices’ Chase at Wetherby in February. After that race, Noble Yeats was bought privately by Robert Waley-Cohen and made his first start for his new connections in the Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, in which he finished unplaced. Consequently, he lined up at Aintee as a largely unconsidered 50/1 chance. However, sporting first-time cheekpieces, he battled on to regain the lead from the favourite, Any Second Now, on the run-in and win by 2¼ lengths, with 20 lengths back to the third horse, Delta Work.