Seamus McGrath

(21/02/1923 - 01/07/2005)

Séamus McGrath, born on February 21st, 1923, and departing on July 1st, 2005, was a luminary in Irish flat horse racing. He was the eldest and last surviving son of Joseph McGrath, founder of the Irish Hospital Sweepstakes, which funded much of the building of t Our Lady’s Children’s hospital in Crumlin. Later in life, Séamus was chairman of the fund-raising committee for the hospital and instrumental in raising money for the Children’s Research Center.

His illustrious career saw him capture the imagination of racing enthusiasts and etch his name as a champion trainer four times in Ireland. At the helm of McGrath’s racing stables at Glencairn, Séamus became synonymous with success and sportsmanship.

In 1969, he achieved a feat that echoed through racing lore – Levmoss’s unprecedented treble victory in the Ascot Gold Cup, the Prix du Cadran, and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. This triumph showcased Séamus’s mastery in training and marked him as a force to be reckoned with in the equestrian world.

The McGrath stable’s dominance extended beyond that iconic year. Séamus secured victories in multiple Irish Classics, including the 1955 Irish Derby with Panaslipper and the 1973 Irish Derby with Weaver’s Hall. The latter victory held particular significance as the race was sponsored by the Irish Hospitals Sweepstakes, a business integral to the McGrath family and where Séamus served as a director.

The roster of champions trained by Séamus is further embellished with names like Silken Glider, Royal Danseuse, Furry Glen, and Allangrange, winners of prestigious races like the Oaks, 1,000 Guineas, 2,000 Guineas, and St Leger, respectively.

Séamus McGrath’s influence extended beyond the racetrack. A man of integrity and foresight, he played a crucial role in the grooms’ pension fund, cofounding it with contemporaries in the 1950s. Post-retirement, he dedicated himself to philanthropy, joining the board of Crumlin Children’s Hospital in Dublin. His efforts in raising funds for the research center reflected a commitment to the common good.

In his passing at St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin, Séamus left behind a legacy of excellence, generosity, and a profound impact on Irish racing. Survived by his widow, Rosemary, and children, including Peter McGrath, Séamus McGrath’s legacy extends beyond the finish line, leaving his mark on the sport and community he cherished.


Person Photo
Connection with area: Racehorse trainer who in retirement worked for the fundraising board of the Crumlin Children's Hospital