Greats pay tribute as O’brien breaks new ground
O’brien’s season got off to the perfect start with Churchill and Winter completing Newmarket and Curragh Guineas doubles.
At Epsom Highland Reel won the Coronation Cup while Wings Of Eagles was the first leg of a Ballydoyle Derby double, with Capri winning out in a thrilling finish to the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh.
Royal Ascot saw a trio of Group 1 wins including Winter in the Coronation Stakes, and that filly made it four wins at the top level by July when landing the Qatar Nassua Stakes at Goodwood.
Another brilliant filly, Roly Poly, more than contributed her fair share, landing three Group 1s in remarkably game fashion beginning with the Falmouth Stakes in July, then the Prix Rothchild in Chantilly before returning to Newmarket in October to grittily take the Sun Chariot Stakes.
Winning 26 Group 1s in one season requires an exceptional team and O’brien had winners across all the categories – two-year-olds, three-yearolds, older horses, colts and fillies. One of those fillies, Happily, won two Group 1s, including when beating the colts at Chantilly on Arc day in Qatar Prix Jeanluc Lagardere.
By then the world record looked more than possible and when U S Navy Flag led home an incredible O’brien 1-2-3-4 in the Darley Dewhurst at Newmarket and made it 24 top level winners for the season, it was only a matter of time, with strong Ballydoyle chances in Group 1s all over the world, that O’brien would make history.
Hydrangea took the Qipco British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes at Ascot, helping Aidan O’brien equal the world record, and then a new world record was set when Saxon Warrior won the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster, making it 26 Group and Grade 1 winners trained on the Flat in a calendar year.
(Oct 21, Ascot, Qipco British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes)
Stakes) (Oct 28, Doncaster, Racing Post Trophy)
(Oct 14, Newmarket, Darley Dewhurst
– (Oct 7, Newmarket, Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes) Stakes)
(Oct 1, Chantilly, Prix de l’opera Longines) (Oct 1, Chantilly, Qatar Prix Jean-luc Lagardere) (Sep 30, Newmarket, Juddmonte Middle Park (Sep 30, Newmarket, Juddmonte Cheveley Park) (Sep 16, Doncaster, William Hill St Leger)
(Sep 10, Curragh, Comer Group International Irish St Leger)
(Sep 10, Curragh, Moyglare Stud Stakes)
(Sep 9, Leopardstown, Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes) (July 1, Curragh, Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby) Stakes) (Aug 13, Curragh, Keeneland Phoenix Stakes) (Aug 3, Goodwood, Qatar Nassau Stakes) (July 30, Chantilly, Prix Rothchild) (July 14, Newmarket, Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes) (Jun 23, Royal Ascot, Coronation Stakes) (Jun 23, Royal Ascot, Commonwealth Stakes) (Jun 21, Royal Ascot, Prince Of Wales’s (Jun 3, Epsom, Investec Derby) (Jun 2, Epsom, Investec Coronation Cup) (May 28, Curragh, Tattersalls Irish 1000 Guineas)
(May 27, Curragh, Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas)
(May 7, Newmarket, Qipco 1000 Guineas)
(May 6, Newmarket, Qipco 2000 Guineas)