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Down quick on draw with Wild West Ned.

THEY are hardly Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, but Noel Meade and the Racing Post's Alastair Down certainly know their Wild West heroes when it comes to naming racehorses, writes Graham Green.

The County Meath trainer's fascination with gunslingers and lawmen was again evident at Naas on Saturday when both his winners, Texas Jack and Ned Buntline, celebrated legendary figures of the cowboy era.

The equine Ned Buntline stamped himself a potential star of the future in the bumper, although unlike many of the horses Meade has named in recent years, the inspiration on this occasion was provided by Down who, in the best tradition of westerns, rode to the rescue at his friend's moment of need.

The two men were dining with bloodstock agent Mags O'Toole, who bought the Refuse To Bend gelding, in Paris on the eve of last year's Arc meeting, and Down recalled: "Noel said he needed a name for the Meade and Down: named future big gun Horses named by Noel Meade with a Wild West theme ... Ned Buntline Provided Wyatt Earp with Buntline Special gun allegedly used at Gunfight at the OK Corral Texas Jack An associate of Buntline Bat Masterson Buffalo hunter, US marshal and army scout Virgil Earp US deputy marshal and younger brother of Wyatt Earp Pat Garrett Lawman who killed Billy The Kid Leroy Parker Better known as Butch Cassidy Jim Bowie Knife named after him, died at the Battle of the Alamo Bose Ikard Cattle-drive pioneer Heck Thomas Oklahoma lawman horse and I suggested Ned Buntline.

"In the Wild West they used the Colt 45 as the standard way of killing someone and Ned Buntline used a gun with a longer barrel, the Buntline Special, which was allegedly used by Wyatt Earp at the Gunfight at the OK Corral."

Down added: "Noel quickly registered the name and I know they think quite a bit of the horse."

Explaining how the Wild West and its characters came to capture his imagination, Meade said yesterday: "It started a few years ago and has just taken off. Since then everything we have named is either a gunman or a famous personality from that time, but the list has grown quite long now and coming up with new names is getting more difficult, and it was Alastair who suggested Ned Buntline."

Meade has high hopes for Ned Buntline, who carries the colours of JP McManus, describing him as "the best we've had for a while".

He added: "He's filled out and is twice the horse he was when he ran in his first bumper. He might turn up in a maiden hurdle over Christmas."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Nov 12, 2012
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