Linde, Henry Eyre (1835–97), national hunt trainer, was born 20 November 1835 in Eyrefield Lodge, Co. Kildare, son of John Eyre Linde (d. c.1860), small landowner; nothing is known of his mother. After the sale of the family estate c.1852, Linde enlisted as a private in a British infantry regiment. It was later rumoured that he had quarrelled with his father before taking this step. One of his primary objectives as a young man was recovery of his inheritance (the loss of which may have caused a quarrel). Having served a three-year term in the army, he was admitted to the Irish Constabulary, where he reached the rank of sergeant in the space of four years. There can have been few men of his social background in the lower ranks in either force, and the episode remains intriguing. Given care of the county police stables towards the end of his career, as a sideline he managed a local hunt yard. Adding extra-professional earnings to an ample dowry, he was enabled to purchase Eyrefield Lodge c.1862, and to retire from the constabulary. He made his living henceforth as a trainer, principally in the steeplechase. He seems to have taken some years to get into his stride. During the 1860s he achieved fitful success riding Cuffsborough. Until the early 1870s, when problems in keeping his weight down – he weighed sixteen stone (101.6 kg) – effectively ended his career as a jockey, he rode most of the mounts raised in the Eyrefield Lodge stables. His mode of riding was brawny and energetic rather than skilful.
As trainer he possessed great insight and patience. Constructing a steeplechase course beside the Eyrefield stables which reproduced many of the obstacles horses faced on the classic British courses (such as Becher's Brook and the Chair at Aintree), he put his animals through daily sessions ‘to get their jumping muscles up’ (Watson, 108), in addition to building fitness on the conventional morning ride-out. He had the business discipline to reinvest a proportion of winnings and some of the profits of sales, a practice not typical of the contemporary racing ethos. He was also anxious to breed as well as train horses, then an unusual combination of activities. These innovations began to pay off in the early 1870s. His first stroke of luck was the purchase of the powerful mare Highland Mary (1870) for the small sum of £25. This horse rapidly outclassed most of its Irish competitors. He was doubly fortunate simultaneously to acquire the services as house jockeys of the four young Beasley brothers (Tommy (qv), Harry (qv), Johnny, and Willie) just as they broke into the highest rank in their profession. Tommy Beasley was nominally installed as stable manager to get around contemporary restrictions on the use of paid riders in the sport. It was hardly a coincidence that stable wins multiplied as Tommy, in particular, took over riding responsibilities from Linde himself. In 1873 Tommy raced Highland Mary to victory in the Staghunter's Plate at Fairyhouse and the Drogheda Stakes at Punchestown. After retiring the mare c.1875, she was foaled with the outstanding stallion Eyrefield. Among other thoroughbreds raced by Linde in the 1870s and 1880s were Empress, Woodbrook, Seaman, Cyrus, Martha, Gamebird, Mohican, Whisper Low, and Too Good, several of which were also bred and raised by Linde.
During these decades Linde established himself as the dominant national hunt trainer in Britain and Ireland. In 1876 he captured (with the aid of Tommy Beasley) all the major Irish steeplechases: the Irish Grand National, the Conyngham Cup, and the Galway Plate. The Irish Grand National was retained in 1877. By the early 1880s horses from the Linde stables were so hard to beat (especially at Punchestown), that he was nicknamed ‘Farmer’ on account of his regular harvest of wins. In March 1880 Empress, under Tommy Beasley, won the Grand National at Aintree. The mare was named in honour of the Empress Elizabeth of Austria, who called often at the Eyrefield stables during her annual hunting tours spent in Meath and Kildare in the late 1870s and early 1880s. In May 1880 Linde brought Turco to ride in his debut at the Grand Hurdle at Auteuil, outside Paris, and was delighted to have him come second. The hardships of travel by ship for horses coming from Britain and Ireland had hitherto made the major French championship steeplechases seem out of reach. Linde's successes between 1880 and 1883 were without precedent for British or Irish trainers. In May 1881, having won the Grand National at Aintree with Woodbrook under Tommy Beasley, he entered Seaman, a spindly stallion with great heart, in the Grand Hurdle at Auteuil. Harry Beasley this time rode to victory, though the horse's withers were so badly scarified by having been forced through some of the sharp hedges that Linde decided to sell the animal. In 1882 Linde won the Grand Steeple at Auteuil with Too Good, and secured second place with Mohican in the Grand Hurdle, both ridden by Harry Beasley. In 1883 Linde got first and third places in the Grand Steeple. These years were perhaps the pinnacle of his international career as trainer: such a feat has not since been equalled. Linde remained a redoubtable figure in Irish and British training until bowing out in 1895 owing to illness. Over twenty-five years he won every major Irish race several times, thrice won the Grand National at Aintree (coming second five times), and achieved enduring celebrity in the French steeplechase. He died 18 March 1897 of kidney failure due to Bright's disease.
He married twice, first (1862) to a Miss Yelverton. Both marriages were childless.