Greats pay trib­ute as O’brien breaks new ground

Irish Examiner - Sport - - RACING -

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)

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