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Tracy Piggott & Noel Meade - Cheltenham

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Tracy Piggott and Noel Meade are here to talk about a new charity single called Cheltenham which will be released this Friday. Irish and UK racing have teamed together to release the single for 4 charities - the Irish charity is the Rehabilitation Hospital in Dun Laoghaire who have done amazing work in putting back together riders (and others) who have had horrific falls (broken necks, backs, etc) so it's a very worth cause.

"The hype and anticipation is building as the release date of the official Cheltenham Festival song fast approaches. Friday 12th of March will be the official Irish release date of the single, 'Cheltenham: The Favourites' and racing fans across Ireland have it firmly placed in their diaries in hope of making the single No 1 in the charts ahead of the Festival.

The parody of Petula Clark's, 1964 hit, 'Downtown' and now renamed 'Cheltenham' was first broadcast Radio 2 on Sarah Kennedy's show last Friday. The single which hopes to hit the No 1 spot in the UK and Irish charts the weekend before the Cheltenham Festival will see all funds benefit four worthwhile racing charities including; The Bob Champion Cancer Trust, Riding for the Disabled, Racing Welfare and the Rehabilitation Hospital in Ireland

After two successful recordings in London and Dublin with more than 40 racing faces taking part including; A P McCoy, Paul Nicholls, Clive Smith and Sam Thomas to name a few. The Irish racing stars involved in the recording were:- Tracy Piggott, Jessie Harrington, Noel Meade, Edward O'Grady, Barry Geraghty, Tom Taaffe, Charlie Swan, Davy Russell, Robert Power , Colm Murphy, Andrew McNamara, Paul Nolan and Davy Condon. Interest has been building and Paddy Power have priced up the chances of the single hitting the No 1 spot in both the UK and Irish charts at 10/1 and 8/1 respectively.

The lead vocalist on the track is 25 year-old pop/country and soul singer, Laura Critchley who won best Live entertainer in 2008 at the Irish Entertainment Awards and has supported the Sugababes in Dublin along with Boyzone at the RDS Stadium previously.

'Cheltenham' will be available for download from all digital stores, including iTunes, 7 digital and all mobile networks from 7th March. To download text 'music 5271 m' to 57501.

The physical CD will be available from 15th March from selected HMV stores and online at and giving fans nationwide, one week to make the iconic tune a Number One chart hit prior to the Festival". REF: Racing Ireland

. The Cheltenham festival starts Tuesday 16th March and Cheltenham fever will grip the country for the week.

. In 2009 the Irish had 9 Cheltenham Festival Winners (Go Native, Forpadydeplasterer, Garde Champetre, Quevega, Mikael D'Haguenet, Cooldine, Nintieth Minute, Dunguib &Weapons Amnesty), we also had 13 Irish bred winners including 6 grade 1's (Go Native, Forpadydeplasterer, Cooldine, Dunguib, Imperial Commander, Weapons Amnesty). 6-time Irish Champion NH jockey Ruby Walsh crowned Leading Festival jockey yet again with a record 7 festival winners, capped by winning 3 out of 4 of the Championship races (Master Minded, Big Bucks & Kauto Star). The top 5 spots on the leading jockey table were held by Irish jockeys, Ruby Walsh, Barry Geraghty, Anthony McCoy, Timmy Murphy & Davy Russell... (The record for Irish winners in Chelt is 10 (only done once) in 2006, we had 8 Irish winners in 1958 not equaled until 2005 when we had 9 winners, then the record 10 in 06, 5 in 07 and 7 in 08 then 9 this year....)

Tracy Piggott will be covering Cheltenham from March 16th at 1.25pm on RTE ONE.

Cheltenham the charity single is released this Friday. Cheltenham Festival will start next Tuesday the 16th.

Tracey Piggott

. After leaving school Tracy spent three years as a 'galloper' in Florida and Kentucky.
. She then went on to work in her mothers business in England selling foals, yearlings and horses.
. In 1986 she returned to horse racing in Ireland.
. In 1988 head of RTE Sport Tim O'Connor saw Tracy's potential to be a sports reporter when she won the Ladies Race in Leopardstown.
. Her father is racing legend Lester Piggott. Who had 4,493 career wins including 9 times Derby winner.
. She was the main anchor for the Olympics for RTE in Atlanta in 1996, Sydney in 2000 and Athens in 2004.
. In 1999/2000 she also presented her own chat show.
. Tracy is now synonymous with racing and rugby commentating for RTE.
. Tracey has done a lot of work for charity and in July 1998 she swam across Galway Bay, a distance of 9 miles in seven and a half hours, all underwater, to raise £170,000 for the John Durcan Leukaemia Trust. She has also set up her own charity 'Playing for Life'. In 2000 she and 28 others cycled 2,875 miles from San Diego to Charleston South Carolina USA in 25 days for he National Council of the Blind.
. Tracy is a qualified Tibetan yoga and Pilates instructor.
. Tracy has a two year old daughter called Tiah.

Noel Meade: Horse Trainer

Noel is one of the most respected trainers in this or any other part of the world. Noel has been training horses for over 36 years. He has won 5 National Hunt Trainers titles and has been crowned Champion Trainer in Ireland on no less than 7 occasions.
Noel's runners in Cheltenham are: Go Native (Champion Hurdle), Nicanor, Casey Jones, Aran Concerto, Donna's Palm, Muirhead, Pandorama, Thegreatjohnbrowne, Jered, etc..

Notable Wins: Powers Gold Cup (Aran Concerto 2009, Thari 2003), Supreme Novices Hurdle (Go Native 2009, Sausalito Bay 2000), Deloitte Novice Hurdle (Pandorama 2009, Aran Concerto 2007, Mr Nosie 2006, Native Estates 1998), Christmas Hurdle (Harchibald 2008 + 2004, Jazz Messenger 2006), Knight Frank Novice Chase (Casey Jones 2008), Champion Novice Hurdle (Jered 2008, Iktitaf 2006, Wild Passion 2005, Scottish Memories 2002, Cardinal Hill 1999), Hatton's Grace Hurdle (Aitmatov 2007), Fighting Fifth Hurdle (Harchibald 2007 + 2004), Maplewood Developments Hurdle (Jazz Messenger 2007, Iktitaf 2006, Harchibald 2004, Cockney Lad 1997 + 1996), Royal Bond Novice Hurdle (Muirhead 2007, Iktitaf 2005, Wild Passion 2004), Punchestown Champion Bumper (Mick The Man 2007, Leading Run 2006, Tiananmen Square 1992), Christmas Hurdle (Jazz Messenger 2006), Barry & Sandra Kelly Memorial Novice Hurdle (Aran Concerto 2006), Dunboyne Castle Hotel & Spa Champion Novice Hurdle (Nicanor 2006), Royal & SunAlliance Hurdle (Nicanor 2006), Galway Hurdle (More Rainbows 2005, Pinch Hitter 1983 + 1982), Bula Hurdle (Harchibald 2005), Drinmore Novice Chase (Watson Lake 2004, Harbour Pilot 2002, Johnny Setaside 1995), Dr. P.J. Moriarty Novice Chase (Harbour Pilot 2002), BMW Chase (Strong Run 2002), Irish Grand National (The Bunny Boiler 2002), Arkle Perpetual Cup (Frozen Groom 2000), Swordlestown Cup (Syndneytwothousand 1999), Troytown Chase (Heist 1997), AIG Europe Champion Hurdle (Cockney Lad 1997), Ericsson Chase (Johnny Setaside 1996), Pierse Hurdle (Glencloud 1993), December Festival Hurdle (Novello Allegro 1992), Greenlands Stakes (Street Rebel 1992), McDonogh Handicap (Dromod Hill 1987, Pinch Hitter 1982 + 1981), Phoenix Sprint Stakes (Rangoon Ruby 1985), Irish Cambridgeshire (National Form 1985), Cork And Orrery Stakes (Sweet Mint 1978)

Tracy Piggott:

How did you get involved in this charity single? When did you record it and where?

I was asked to get involved with the charity single and I said I was more than delighted to help as I know how important these centre's are for people who have suffered from an injury. So about three weeks ago I went off to Windmill Lane to record it which was great fun and it's all for a good cause.

I have had a number of colleagues and friends unfortunately who have suffered from an injury and these centre's have done fantastic work not just for racing people but to people in all walks of life. I can't say enough how important they are.

You must be so busy at the moment with Cheltenham and the rugby at the weekend and you are the proud mother to a 2 year old girl - where do you find the time to do so much charity work?

I am very lucky as I have a great support system and I have an office at home. I think now you can work a lot at home. Today I was doing rugby interviews but I was able to be back at home for 3.30pm. Also, I have only one child and I admire all those women out there who have 3 or 4 children and they are great at juggling everything.

As a former jockey yourself - were you ever worried about getting injured?

I think you always do - I have always done crazy things I have cycled across America and I have swan for charity. I wasn't worried but I'd say my mom was and I do think now that I am a mother I would worry myself.

How much are you hoping to raise?

I don't want to put a figure on it. I just want to raise money for the centres. Whatever people have to give would be much appreciated. It all helps. We are hoping for the single to go to number one.

What kind of service's are essential for those who suffer from an injury?

There are a whole list of invaluable services provided in these centre's- they can be from physio to teaching people how to walk and talk again. My friend Fran Berry who is a great jockey suffered an injury and he thought he would never walk again. He is now back racing and went on to to be number one Jockey for John Oxx -Sea the Stars trainer. It's also the people that work there are so amazing and so kind. It really is such an important place and I happy to put my name forward to help.

Next week kicks off Cheltenham - do you have any tips?

There's loads - I know Noel Meade's horse Go Native is one to watch.

Noel Meade:

How did you get involved in this charity single?

I got involved when Horse Racing Ireland asked me to get involved with the project. The day in the studio is a little different to what I am used to but it was good fun.

Of course the single is going towards a good cause - have any of you jockey's suffered injuries?

It's an ongoing hazard all the time. We have been so lucky as I don't think we have had anyone who has been in the rehabilitation unit. It is however an occupational hazard so you never know what's around the corner.

How important are these rehab centre's?

I was in it myself when I was 19 and I spent 8 weeks in there as they thought I had a broken neck. I was lucky enough to walk out. There were 14 of us in the ward and only 2 of us were able to walk out of the place. I was injured when I fell off a horse but I was lucky as it was only a crack and I wasn't paralyzed. These centres are invaluable - they really are so important for people who have been injured.

You have been named champion trainer 7 times - how many titles have you won? Who has been your most successful horse?

I was the leading trainer in the country nine times. My most successful horse probably is Archibald.

Are you looking forward to Cheltenham next week - what horses have you got racing?

Go Native is now favourite and he is up for a million pound bonus.


Tell me about the injuries you sustained in your accident?

I fell off a horse and suffered a head injury. I was in a coma for 12 days and I spent 6 weeks in hospital and then 7 weeks in Dun Laoghaire.

How long were you in the rehabilitation in Dun Laoghaire?

For 7 weeks I was there and to be honest at the start I didn't want to be there. It took a while for me to realize that I had to be there in order for me to get better. The service that they provide are second to none. I only spent a short time there in comparison to everyone else.

In cork hospital I had to learn how to walk again. It put everything into perspective about how lucky we all are. The doctors and nurses to great work there.

Are you back racing?

I am back racing and I don't worry at all about getting injured again. I suppose that I can't remember the accident is probably a great thing.