Joseph O’Brien has quickly established himself as a top dual-purpose trainer in Ireland. The 24-year-old, who was granted his trainers’ licence in June 2016, has already enjoyed many memorable days in his new role. The undoubted highlight over jumps came earlier this season when Tigris River landed the ultra-competitive Galway Hurdle for legendary owner and huge supporter of the yard JP McManus.
O’Brien ended last season with 38 winners over jumps, a staggering total for someone in their first official season. Indeed, that tally reads even better given he was dealing mostly with juveniles and young bumper horses, most of which are back bigger and stronger and ready to make an impact for the yard this term.
He describes his current batch of horses for the winter as “very exciting” and with horses like Edwulf, Le Richebourg, Tigris River and Ivanovich Gorbatov part of his ever-expanding jumps team, few would disagree.
Sum up last season in one word
Over (we always try to concentrate on what’s next)
Where Owning Hill, Piltown, County Kilkenny
Started training 2016
National hunt horses in yard 50
Members of staff 40
Head lad Faisal Hayat
Assistant trainer Mark Power
Secretaries Mark Hackett and Emma Dunning
Travelling Head Girls/Lads Matt Crosse, Tina Evans and Paddy Doody
Jockeys Barry Geraghty, Mark Walsh, Jody McGarvey, JJ Slevin and Shane Shortall
Amateurs Tom Hamilton and best available
Stable sponsor Al Basti Equiworld
WINNERS IN IRELAND
PROFIT/LOSS TO €1 STAKE
Joseph O’Brien's list of Runners
Info: Five-year-old gelding by Mahler (sire) - Lurriga Jenny (dam)
A bumper winner at Leopardstown last Christmas, he went on to win his maiden hurdle for us this summer at Bellewstown but he didn't behave very well that day and got a bit worked up before the race. He had a little break and started back at Galway (yesterday) when he ran third in a 2m4f novice. Hopefully, he will come on for the run.
Info: 5m Kayf Tara - Dalamine
A half-sister to Don Poli. She ran just once for me last year when fourth in a bumper at Clonmel and she'll either run in a bumper or a maiden hurdle before Christmas.
Info: 3g Dream Ahead - Bluebell Park
I liked what I saw of him at Thurles as he was tough and you could even say he pulled it out of the fire as he looked beat for most of the straight. He missed the last three hurdles and still managed to win, which was great, as you'd be hoping that he can improve his jumping. We'll look at running him in a winners' race at Down Royal next.
Info: 7g Lavirco - Latitude
He ran a very good race in the Kerry National when he was only narrowly denied and he seemed to be going nicely in the Munster National before falling with a circuit left to race. He'll go for the 3m4f Cork National. He was absolutely terrible for me last season but we gave him a good break and have brought him back slowly. He seems to have been very well since, so hopefully he can continue to progress. He should handle soft ground.
Info: 4g Galileo - Ecology
He was just too keen on his latest start on the Flat, when he finished down the field in the Irish Cesarewitch. We sent him back over hurdles at Galway (yesterday) and ran well for a long way before fading to finish fifth in 2m4f novice. He should improve. He had disappointed us a couple of times but he's had excuses on each occasion.
Info: 4g Galileo - Flirtation
Form: 4g Galileo - Flirtation
I thought he'd have won his maiden hurdle by now if I'm honest – he's been placed in plenty of them – but it should only be a matter of time.
Info: 3g Excelebration - Four Eleven
He goes juvenile hurdling and will be ready to run soon. He seems a nice type.
Info: 4g Doyen - Shampooed
He’s one from one after winning his bumper at Roscommon impressively. We think he’s very nice and he goes novice hurdling.
Info: 4g Soldier Of Fortune - Ymlaen
He's a really nice horse who won his bumper impressively last season and was third in the Land Rover bumper at Punchestown. He started off over hurdles at Wexford (yesterday) and won quite nicely. He should progress and he looks fairly versatile ground-wise.
Info: 8g Kayf Tara - Valentines Lady
He's been back with us more than a month now and is moving very well again. We're delighted to have him back. He was going well in the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham before he looked to go wrong. But according to the vets, what actually happened was that because he was trying so hard, he just ran out of oxygen and his body began to shut itself down and all the oxygen left in him was sent to his vital organs. He was lucky and the vets did a great job. We'll take him away somewhere for a gallop before making any plans. We're hoping Cheltenham was just a freak accident and that he'll be able to put that behind him.
Info: 4g Galileo - Sharp Lisa
I thought he ran a good race in a Grade 3 novice hurdle at Tipperary last month and he'll go for a novice again in about three weeks' time. I don't really have a race picked out for him yet, but he could go for the For Auction Novice Hurdle at Navan or a handicap hurdle.
Info: 5g Getaway - Stormy Moment
We gave him one last run in a bumper at Wexford (yesterday) and it proved worthwhile as he got an overdue win. He'll be going hurdling and we think he should stay well
Info: 5g Montjeu - Northern Gulch
He's on the way back and is about a month away from having his first run of the season. In an ideal world, I'd like to find a little conditions race but we could always pitch him into a good handicap. The Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham is an option.
Info: 8g Mountain High - None The Wiser
He's been unlucky on a couple of occasions. He'll go for the Cork National along with Arkwright.
Info: 4g High Chaparral - Wurfklinge
His jumping is really improving with the more practice he gets and I was very happy with how he did it, when winning a Graded chase at Roscommon last time. He'll be kept on the go during the winter.
Info: 4g Network - Fee Magic
I was delighted him at Galway and we've given him a little break since. His main aim will be the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle, but he might have a run before that. If he does have a run before Fairyhouse, it would be in the For Auction Novice Hurdle at Navan. That's the way we are thinking right now, but we'll make a definite plan closer to the time. He jumps well and you couldn't fault him from what we have seen from him so far, but it will be a different ball game when he meets the winter boys. Still, of all of our novice hurdlers to have run to date, he looks to be the most exciting.
Info: 4g Dubai Destination - Saabga
He's a very tough horse who stays well. He won his maiden hurdle at Downpatrick and has run second on his three starts since. He tried to make all over 2m4f at Galway (yesterday) and only just lost out.
Info: 5g King's Theatre - Pmme Tiepy
He's very well bred and has won his bumper. He looks a staying type and he's exciting. We're looking forward to sending him over a hurdle this season and he's not too far away from starting off.
Info: 3g Galileo - Tarbela
He’s another who has joined us to go hurdling. He seems to be jumping well and looks like he has potential.
Info: 5g Galileo - Riskaverse
He's got good Graded form having been placed in a couple of Grade 2s. We'll probably stick to hurdles again this season and he'll be a fun horse for a lot of those Graded races, but he could also run in handicaps as well. We might step him up in trip eventually.
Info: 4g Kapgarde - Patrice De La Borie
He’s just a lovely young horse. He’s doing well at home and we’re looking forward to running him in a bumper.
Info: 4g Montjeu - Splendid
He only just lost out in a 2m6 handicap at Galway yesterday when going for a hat-trick. His two wins were over shorter trips and he's a horse on the up. Hopefully, he'll be able to take another step forward.
Info: 4g Montjeu - Apticanti
He’s a nice horse by Montjeu and he’ll run in a bumper before Christmas.
Info: 4g Pour Moi - Marjalina
He won his bumper at Killarney in July and I thought he ran a nice race on his first start over hurdles, when he was fifth in a maiden at Navan. He'll be out in another maiden before long.
Info: 4g Court Cave - Native Artist
He ran really well in a maiden hurdle behind a nice horse of Gordon Elliott's at Punchestown and, if anything, he probably ran a shade better than what we expected him to as it was just his first run of the year. He's just a four-year-old and is an exciting novice. He should stay well.
Info: 5m Soldier Of Fortune - Second Emotion
She disappointed us in the Munster National at Limerick but not a lot came to light afterwards so we've just given her a little break to freshen her up a bit. We'll be aiming her at a mares' chase at Clonmel.
Info: 4g Beneficial - For Bill
A nice horse. He won his point-to-point for the Doyles last year and seems to jump very well. He'll be ready to run in the next couple of weeks.
Info: 3g Galileo - Queenscliff
Another horse who’s going jumping and we like what we’ve seen from him so far at home.
Info: 6g Trans Island - Ballinagar Lady
He won his beginners' chase well at Galway and won on Sunday at Wexford. He's a horse with potential.
Info: 4g Oscar - River Finn
He won his bumper well at Galway but I don't want to go novice hurdling with him until next year, so we aren't going to rush him. He might go back for a winners' bumper with him. He's a horse for the future.
Info: 6g Montjeu - Hula Angel
He had a little break after winning the Galway Hurdle and the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham is an option. He could also run in some of those Graded races as he has a high rating. He's got plenty of options and we're very happy with him.
Info: 4g High Chaparral - Walkamia
He won a couple of bumpers but wouldn't want heavy ground. He'd handle soft all right and he'll be ready to run in a maiden hurdle soon.
Info: 4g Galileo - Devoted To You
He jumps very well at home and is ready to run in a maiden hurdle. He's a nice horse to have off the Flat and we're looking forward to sending him over hurdles.
Info: 5g Westerner - Refinement
He won his maiden hurdle well and seems to like soft ground. Things didn't really fall right for him at Limerick last time, but he needed the experience, and we'll look at running him in another novice soon.
Info: 6g Poliglote - Jasminette Doree
He's improved with each run and went three miles last time at Cork and ran very well there. He's a nice staying novice to have, but he's really one who will be better over a fence in time.