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.