Joseph O’Brien

Joseph O’Brien

Joseph O’Brien Trainer

Aged just 26, it would be fair to say Joseph Patrick O’Brien has enjoyed a fruitful spell in horse racing to date, both in and out of the saddle.

Born on May 23, 1993, He rode his first winner just a few days after his 16th birthday on Johann Zoffany for his father and master trainer Aidan O’Brien and was involved in a three-way dead heat for the Champion Apprentice title in 2010.

As a rider, he won the first of 10 Classics in the UK and Ireland in 2011 on board Roderic O’Connor in the Irish 2000 Guineas for his father Aidan.

The following year, he and Aidan became the first father-son combination to win the Epsom Derby with Camelot, who had previously won the 2000 Guineas and would go on to finish second in the St. Leger, a ride that Joseph would take criticism for as the Ballydoyle team narrowly missed out a first British Triple Crown since Nijinsky in 1970.

Joseph enjoyed further success around the world, winning as many as 31 Group 1 races around the globe including another Epsom Derby with the beautifully-bred Australia in 2014, the St Leger, the Irish Derby (twice), the Breeders’ Cup Turf, the Grand Prix de Paris and the Dubai Sheema Classic.

However, it was clear he was struggling to make weight as a fairly tall flat rider, and as a result, he announced his retirement from the saddle in the spring of 2016, but at this point, he had already started to launch his training career.

His first major success as a trainer wasn’t actually in his name when Ivanovich Gorbatov claimed the Grade 1 Triumph Hurdle back in 2016 for his father Aidan, but it was revealed after the race that Joseph had done all the training while he was waiting for his licence to train over Jumps.

He was officially granted a licence in June 2016, and in his own name, O’Brien became the youngest trainer ever to win ‘the race that stops a nation’ when Rekindling took the Melbourne Cup in 2017.

In 2018 O’Brien also trained the Fillies’ Mile winner with Iridessa and landed a first Irish Classic as a trainer with Latrobe, edging out two runners trained by his father to win the Irish Derby at the Curragh.

Over obstacles, he showed his training qualities to bring Edwulf back from collapsing at Cheltenham in the 2017 National Hunt Chase and was able to win the Irish Gold Cup with him the following year.

He has also had great success with juvenile hurdlers such as Band of Outlaws, Fakir D’oudairies, Gardens of Babylon and the ill-fated Sir Erec.

Joseph O’Brien Horses

As a talented dual-purpose trainer, Joseph O’Brien has a string of Graded horses across both Flat and National Hunt codes.

Some of his stable stars include:

  • Ivanovich Gorbatov - Triumph Hurdle (2016)
  • Rekindling - Melbourne Cup (2017)
  • Latrobe - Irish Derby (2018)
  • Band of Outlaws - Fred Winter Juvenile Hurdle (2019)
  • Le Richebourg - Racing Post Novice Chase (2018), Irish Arkle (2019)
  • Iridessa - Fillies’ Mile (2018)
  • Edwulf - Irish Gold Cup (2018)
  • Fakir D’oudairies - Four-Year-Old Anniversary Hurdle 2nd (2019)
  • Us And Them - 4x Grade 1 placed (2018-19)
  • Downdraft - Royal County Premier Handicap (2018)
  • Ship of Dreams - Listed Navigation Stakes (2018)

Joseph O’Brien’s Stables

Joseph O’Brien trains at Owning Hill near Piltown in County Kilkenny in the south-east of Ireland. The stable - known as Carriganog - has a seven-furlong wood chip gallop as well as a five-furlong gallop in use. Facilities also include two equine spas, schooling hurdles and fences and starting stalls.

On the Flat, Joseph often uses the services of his brother Donnacha, who was onboard when Latrobe won the Irish Derby in 2018. He also uses Wayne Lordan and claiming jockey Shane Crosse.

For his National Hunt horses, a large amount of them are owned by JP McManus, who has retained riders in Barry Geraghty and Mark Walsh. For McManus’ horses trained in Ireland, Mark Walsh tends to get the rides but JJ Slevin is also used, having won the Fred Winter Juvenile Hurdle on Band of Outlaws at Cheltenham.

Horses to follow from Joseph O’Brien

Band of Outlaws (4yo): Formerly a miler on the Flat, Band of Outlaws improved throughout his juvenile hurdle season in Ireland, winning two races before flying home to take the Fred Winter at Cheltenham. He disappointed at Aintree but was too keen in a small field that day and looks a horse that could win a valuable handicap hurdle. With stamina guaranteed, he could also be set for a step up in trip on the flat.

Le Richebourg (6yo): The 2019 Irish Arkle winner looks set for an excellent sophomore campaign over fences after a near flawless campaign last year. The six-year-old gelding was beaten by Punchestown winner Delta Work in the Drinmore Chase before winning two Grade 1 races. He was unfortunately ruled out of the Arkle at Cheltenham due to injury but is expected to return in the winter and should make up into a Champion Chase contender.

Iridessa (3yo): Fillies’ Mile winner Iridessa has not tasted success yet in 2019 but should improve as she goes up in trip. Needing every yard of the eight-furlong trip to win the Newmarket Group 1 last year, she has looked a little outpaced in three starts this year. If she is sent to the Irish Oaks, you would have to think that Iridessa can make up into an open Group 1 contender.

Red Tea (6yo): After previously looking fairly exposed for Peter Hiatt, Joseph O’Brien looks to have taken this six-year-old mare to the next level since she moved yards in April. She won a very competitive 27-runner handicap at the Curragh before finishing third in a Group 2 in May, beaten just under two lengths. With Royal Hunt Cup as well as Duke of Cambridge entries at Royal Ascot, she could be one to take very seriously.

Joseph O’Brien family

Joseph O’Brien’s family are horse racing royalty - as detailed he is the eldest son of mighty Ballydoyle trainer Aidan O’Brien. His mother is Anne-Marie O’Brien, formerly Anne-Marie Crowley, once a top trainer in her own right.

Joseph has one brother and two sisters. The aforementioned Donnacha is now a top jockey in his own right while sister Ana has also ridden successfully. Joseph’s other sister is Sarah O’Brien.