THERE ARE occasions when we have to remember the less heralded partner in a famous partnership, one from which great things have sprung on account of the strength of the team. Gwen Murless may have been the wife of Sir Noel Murless, arguably the finest of all trainers of thoroughbred racehorses, but she was also one half of a unique couple; a larger-than-life character whose knowledge of the sport was breathtaking.
The daughter of a Scottish businessman with only a peripheral interest in horses, Gwen Carlow was smitten by all things equine from an early age. So much so that she wasted little time in setting up to train horses privately on leaving Birklands School, near St Albans.
Having set herself up at Adamton, near Ayr, Gwen Carlow met her future husband at Kelso races on Silver Jubilee Day, 1935. She saddled Golden Crown to victory, while Noel Murless did likewise with Eagle Hill, the first horse he had bought when he decided to start training racehorses earlier that year. The two met at a Borders party that same evening and married in 1940.
As Noel Murless went about scaling the heights with the likes of Crepello and the Aly Khan's Petite Etoile, Gwen maintained a few broodmares, from which she bred the Classic heroine Caergwrle, winner of the 1,000 Guineas in 1968.
She kept up close links with the north; the Murlesses were never happier than when walking the paddocks of their Cliff Stud, in Yorkshire, inspecting the young stock. In later years Lady Murless kept her mares with her great friend Lenny Peacock, in Yorkshire. Her racehorses were trained by her daughter Julie - who was married to, and later divorced from the leading trainer Henry Cecil - and Peter Easterby, also in Yorkshire.
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