O’Brien sad­dling up for world record bid

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Sport - - RACING -

AI­DAN O’Brien is likely to throw plenty of am­mu­ni­tion at the three Group One races in Europe next week­end in an at­tempt to claim the world record for most top-level vic­to­ries in a year out­right.

The mas­ter of Bal­ly­doyle drew level on 25 vic­to­ries with the late Bobby Frankel when Hy­drangea won the British Cham­pi­ons Fil­lies & Mares Stakes on Cham­pi­ons Day at As­cot.

It has been an amaz­ing sea­son for O’Brien, 48, who is never slow to credit oth­ers with suc­cess. The likes of Churchill, Win­ter, Roly Poly and Hy­drangea her­self are all mul­ti­ple Group One win­ners.

“I think it’s the best group of horses we’ve had, a whole team in all dif­fer­ent sec­tors,” said O’Brien.

“They’ve pro­gressed all sea­son, a lot of them are very well bred, by Galileo, and they’ve im­proved all year.

“It’s a big team ef­fort, there’s a lot of links in the chain and ev­ery­one works so hard.

“The lads (Cool­more) put a lot of ef­fort into get­ting the right peo­ple for the team.”

With the sea­son draw­ing to a close op­por­tu­ni­ties are run­ning out for O’Brien, but there are chances at Don­caster and Saint-Cloud next week­end be­fore he switches his at­ten­tions abroad.

“There’s the Rac­ing Post Tro­phy and two races in France next week so hope­fully we’ll have plenty of run­ners,” said O’Brien.

“Galileo was very spe­cial, just as a race­horse and now as a stal­lion. We do our best, it’s very hard to get our ducks in a row all the time, we’re very grate­ful when­ever we win.”

Part-owner Michael Ta­bor could not speak highly enough of O’Brien, but also cred­ited the team ef­fort.

“I sup­pose it is like bak­ing a cake. You have to have all the in­gre­di­ents and if you don’t have one of them the cake is OK but not quite right. Hope­fully we have all the right in­gre­di­ents and I sup­pose the proof of the pud­ding is in the eat­ing,” said Ta­bor.

“It is a fab­u­lous achieve­ment by Ai­dan. It is in­cred­i­ble. Re­ally, words can’t de­scribe how ded­i­cated he is and the whole fam­ily. It is a mar­vel­lous achieve­ment.

“I think he takes it all in his stride. I don’t think there is one par­tic­u­lar skill. I think it is his all-round con­sci­en­tious day-in-day-out re­lent­less at­ten­tion to de­tail. I think in all walks of life, at­ten­tion to de­tail is im­por­tant and he cer­tainly typ­i­fies that.

“He is a mod­est man. He is not one to go shout­ing from the rooftops, that is the way he is. I am sure when he gets home at night he sits back in a chair and maybe watches a re­play and takes great sat­is­fac­tion from it, like we all do.”

Brian Ka­vanagh, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Horse Rac­ing Ire­land, said: “Ai­dan O’Brien’s ca­reer has never dipped below ex­tra­or­di­nary.

“His lat­est achieve­ment in equalling the world record for Group One vic­to­ries in a year is a new high and on be­half of Horse Rac­ing Ire­land I would like to ex­tend my con­grat­u­la­tions to him on an out­stand­ing achieve­ment.

“We have seen that in Ire­land for a quar­ter of a cen­tury, but with this world record will come due global recog­ni­tion for a bril­liant Ir­ish horse­man.”

As well as reach­ing Frankel’s land­mark, O’Brien was con­firmed as cham­pion trainer in Bri­tain for the sixth time.

Trainer Ai­dan O’Brien (cen­tre) af­ter Hy­drangea won The QIPCO British Cha­hamions Fil­lies & Mares Stakes Race at As­cot yes­ter­day

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