Joseph O’Brien has achieved more in racing at the age of 26 that most could dream of achieving in a lifetime, yet the remarkable thing is that he is only just getting started.
As a jockey he rode 30 Group 1 winners including two renewals of the Derby at Epsom before the inevitable day came where his lengthy frame made it impractical for him to make the weight required to ride on the Flat.
While he was still just 22 years old when that day came, he had already been playing a major role as a trainer under his father Aidan O’Brien’s name on the family farm in Owning, with him being given all the credit for the success of Ivanovich Gorbatov in the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in 2016.
Having been granted his own licence to train in June 2016, O’Brien has already trained multiple Group 1 winners on the Flat and Grade 1 winners over jumps. In just his second full Flat season in 2018 he finished second to in the Irish trainers’ championship and became the first Irish trainer other than Aidan O’Brien to train 100 domestic winners on the Flat in a calendar year since 1994.
The Galway Festival has been a happy hunting ground for O’Brien in his short training career, him having saddled Tigris River to win the Galway Hurdle in 2017. He has a big string to go to war with at Ballybrit next week and was good enough to sit down with Kevin Blake of attheraces.com and guide us through it.