Police officer-turned trainer has first winner in 24 years


Ex police officer and now horse trainer Noel Richards gained his first winner in 24 years when Niamh Chinn Oir scored at the fourth time of asking.

The 73 year old handler first started his passion for the sport after working for the Victoria Police Department for eight years.

Richards then held a training license for 25 years but in 1997 decided to return to the force but when retiring in 2016 it took until Tuesday to return to the winner's enclosure at Ballarat with Niamh Chinn Oir.

The Aussie trainer since 2016 had ran just three horses and on all 14 of their runs he was winless, but early on Tuesday the $8,800 purchase obliged at odds of 25-1.

Richards spoke to Racing.com after the win and said: "I think the bottle of Glenfiddich, 12 years old, will be out tonight, or maybe the Chivas Regal that the other part-owner bought me for Christmas.

"I had my licence for about 25 years earlier in the piece and I gave it away because I had a job and I couldn't do the horse justice. I thought I better take this up again because I retired."

It was the 73 year olds first win since November 1996 when another of his horses with an Irish name called Captain Shillalae won at Dunkeld.

With his horses having Irish names it is no coincidence as the handler enjoys them.

"I've got this thing about Irish horses," he added. "I didn't know how she'd [Niamh Chinn Oir] handle this [track], but I brought her here today because she'd won on the Pakenham synthetic."