Aidan O’Brien will have opportunities in five Group 1 races in three countries over the next few days as he chases down the late American trainer Bobby Frankel’s 2003 record of 25 Group/Grade 1 winners in a calendar year.
O’Brien moved on to the 23 Group/Grade 1 winner-mark with the success of Roly Poly in the Group 1 Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket last weekend and goes into battle over the next few days with:
- Three runners in Friday’s Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket
- Four runners in Saturday’s Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket
- Two runners in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes in Australia on Saturday morning
- And runners in both Grade 1s at Woodbine in Canada on Sunday night
Dual Group 1 winner Happily will spearhead the Ballydoyle challenge for the latest Group 1 of the season, the bet365 Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket tomorrow (Friday). She will be joined in the race by stable companions Magical and September. In all, there 12 runners declared and the Irish challenge is further strengthened by the presence of the Edward Lynam-trained Muirin. O’Brien has previously won the Fillies’ Mile on five occasions and is chasing fourth-straight success in the race.
At Newmarket on Saturday, O’Brien is responsible for four of the nine runners that will line-up for the Group 1 Darley Dewhurst Stakes. He will saddle previous Group 1 winner U S Navy Flag, the Group 2 winner Seahenge and maiden winners Mendelssohn and Threeandfourpence, a race that he has won for the past two years and five times in all. The O’Brien quartet will be joined by the Jim Bolger-trained Theobald.
At 5.50 on Saturday morning (Irish time), O’Brien will have two runners in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes in Melbourne, Australia. He will be represented by both Taj Mahal and Johannes Vermeer which will be ridden by local riders Damien Oliver and Katelyn Mallyon. The Ballydoyle pair will be joined by Willie Mullins’ Riven Light in the ten-furlong event.
On Sunday night, O’Brien crosses the Atlantic to run two horses at the International meeting at Woodbine Racetrack in Canada. Ryan Moore will take the mount on Rain Goddess in the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor Stakes, a race O’Brien has yet to win. Moore will also partner early favourite Idaho in the Grade 1 Pattison Canadian International which has attracted ten runners.
There is no shortage of top level action in Europe, America, Australia and Hong Kong between now and the end of the year, with plenty of opportunities for O’Brien to finally break a record he has come so close to over the past few years.
Over the next three weeks there are a dozen Group 1s in Europe, two in Canada, a full range of possibilities (listed below) at the Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar, three Grade 1 events in play during the spring festival at Flemington’s Melbourne Cup meeting and four additional chances in Hong Kong in December.
REMAINING GROUP/GRADE 1 RACES IN 2017*
Oct 13 Newmarket, bet365 Fillies’ Mile
Oct 14 Newmarket, Dubai Dewhurst
Oct 14 Caulfield, Caulfield Stakes
Oct 15 Woodbine, Pattison Canadian International
Oct 15 Woodbine, EP Taylor Stakes
Oct 21 Caulfield, Caulfield Cup
Oct 21 Ascot, Qipco Champion Stakes
Oct 21 Ascot, Qipco British Champions Fillies and Mares
Oct 21 Ascot, Queen Elizabeth II Stakes
Oct 21 Ascot, Qipco British Champions Sprint
Oct 22 Saint-Cloud Prix Royal-Oak
Oct 28 Moonee, Valley WS Cox Plate
Oct 28 Doncaster, Racing Post Trophy
Oct 29 Saint-Cloud, Criterium De Saint Cloud
Oct 29 Saint-Cloud, Criterium International
Oct 29 Rome, Primio Lydia Tesio
Nov 1 Munich, Grosser Preis Von Bayern
Nov 3 Del Mar, Breeders’ Cup Distaff
Nov 3 Del Mar, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf
Nov 3 Del Mar, Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile
Nov 3 Del Mar, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf
Nov 4 Del Mar, Breeders’ Cup Classic
Nov 4 Del Mar, Breeders’ Cup Turf
Nov 4 Del Mar, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile
Nov 4 Del Mar, Breeders’ Cup Mile
Nov 4 Del Mar, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies
Nov 4 Del Mar, Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf
Nov 4 Del Mar, Breeders’ Cup Sprint
Nov 4 Del Mar, Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint
Nov 4 Del Mar, Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint
Nov 7 Flemington, Melbourne Cup
Nov 25 Del Mar, Hollywood Derby
Nov 26 Del Mar, Matriarch Stakes
Dec 10 Sha Tin, Longines Hong Kong Cup
Dec 10 Sha Tin, Longines Hong Kong Mile
Dec 10 Sha Tin, Longines Hong Kong Sprint
Dec 10 Sha Tin, Longines Hong Kong Vase
*There are additional Grade 1 races in Australia and US not listed here given the historical non-participation of Ballydoyle-trained runners
HISTORY: HOW THE MASTER OF BALLYDOYLE HAS COME SO CLOSE
Aidan O’Brien trains 23 Grade/Group 1 winners worldwide in 2001. (He also won the Irish Champion Hurdle with Istabraq, giving him a ‘mixed’ total of 24 that year.)
O’Brien trains 22 winners at the top level on the Flat including all five Irish Classics and the Ascot Gold Cup with Yeats.
Another incredible year for Aidan O’Brien with 20 Group/Grade 1 victories highlighted by the end of season success for St Nicholas Abbey in the Grade 1 Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Turf at Churchill Downs.
Last year, Aidan had 22 Group/Grade 1 winners, the highlight being Found leading home a 1-2-3 in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly, the first time any trainer had achieved that feat. O’Brien was also was credited with Ivanovich Gorbatov’s Triumph Hurdle win which gave him a total top level tally of 23.
SO FAR THIS SEASON – 23 GROUP 1s
Roly Poly – (Oct 7, Group 1 Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes)
Rhododendron (Oct 1, Chantilly, Prix de l’Opera Longines)
Happily (Oct 1, Chantilly, Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere)
U S Navy Flag (Sep 30, Newmarket, Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes)
Clemmie (Sep 30, Newmarket, Juddmonte Cheveley Park)
Capri (Sep 16, Doncaster, William Hill St Leger)
Order Of St George (Sep 10, Curragh, Comer Group International Irish St Leger)
Happily (Sep 10, Curragh, Moyglare Stud Stakes)
Hydrangea (Sep 9, Leopardstown, Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes)
Sioux Nation (Aug 13, Curragh, Keeneland Phoenix Stakes)
Winter (Aug 3, Goodwood, Qatar Nassau Stakes)
Roly Poly (July 30, Chantilly, Prix Rothchild)
Roly Poly (July 14, Newmarket, Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes)
Capri (July 1, Curragh, Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby)
Winter (Jun 23, Royal Ascot, Coronation Stakes)
Caravaggio (Jun 23, Royal Ascot, Commonwealth Stakes)
Highland Reel (Jun 21, Royal Ascot, Prince Of Wales’s Stakes)
Wings Of Eagles (Jun 3, Epsom, Investec Derby)
Highland Reel (Jun 2, Epsom, Investec Coronation Cup)
Winter (May 28, Curragh, Tattersalls Irish 1000 Guineas)
Churchill (May 27, Curragh, Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas)
Winter (May 7, Newmarket, Qipco 1000 Guineas)
Churchill (May 6, Newmarket, Qipco 2000 Guineas)
AIDAN O’BRIEN BIOG
Aidan O’Brien has been Irish Champion Flat trainer in terms of prizemoney won in every season since 1999.
He began his career with Curragh trainer PJ Finn and was later assistant trainer to both Jim Bolger and Annemarie Crowley who he was later to marry. Aidan took out his trainer’s licence in 1993 and his first winner was Wandering Thoughts at Tralee in June of that year.
In the early stages of his career, he broke all manner of records in National Hunt racing in terms of winners trained and also became the first trainer to saddle a 1-2-3 in the 1995 Galway Plate when Life Of A Lord defeated Kelly’s Pearl and Loshian. Life Of A Lord went on win the Kerry National at Listowel the following September while he also proved successful in the Whitbread Gold Cup at Sandown the following April, before going back to Galway to claim a second consecutive victory in the Galway Plate.
His remarkable success continued when he moved to Ballydoyle in 1996 and he quickly established himself as one of the leading trainers in the world. O’Brien continues to enjoy tremendous success at home and abroad, winning the biggest races on a continuous basis. He became the first trainer to win the Epsom Derby in three consecutive years when Australia won in 2014, following on from Ruler Of The World and Camelot. Camelot’s success was all the more remarkable as it was the first father/son (Joseph), trainer/jockey partnership to win a British classic.
The pair repeated the feat with Australia in the same race in 2014 and they also landed the Doncaster St Leger with Leading Light in 2013. At Royal Ascot in 2015, O’Brien saddled eight winners over the five days. Minding gave O’Brien his 250th Group/Grade 1 winner on the Flat when taking the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket in May, 2016. O’Brien saddled his 50th winner at Royal Ascot when Even Song won the Ribblesdale Stakes on Thursday, June 17th, 2016.
In October of the same year, he recorded a magnificent 1-2-3 in the €5m Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly when the Ryan Moore-ridden Found led home Highland Reel and Order Of St George. All three are by leading sire Galileo.
Aidan recorded his 70th European Classic success when Churchill, ridden by Ryan Moore, landed the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh on Saturday, May 27th, 2017. The same colt had won the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket three weeks earlier. Aidan enjoyed his 300th Group 1/Grade 1 winner (Flat and National Hunt combined) when Highland Reel (Ryan Moore) took the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 21st, 2017.
County Of Origin: Wexford
Date of licence: June, 1993
First winner: Wandering Thoughts (Pat Gilson), Tralee, June 7th, 1993
Significant horses (selected): Wings Of Eagles, Winter, Churchill, Minding, Order Of St George, Found, Highland Reel, Ruler Of The World, Gleneagles, Adelaide, Australia, Camelot, So You Think, St Nicholas Abbey, Lillie Langtry, Fame And Glory, Mastercraftsman, Duke Of Marmalade, Henrythenavigator, Dylan Thomas, George Washington, Yeats, Footstepsinthesand, Oratorio, Yeats, High Chaparral, Hawk Wing, Rock Of Gibraltar, Galileo, Imagine, Giant’s Causeway, Saffron Walden, Shahtoush, King Of Kings, Classic Park, Istabraq, Desert King, Urubande, Life Of A Lord.