Aidan O'Brien to Join British Horseracing Hall of Fame

Aidan O'Brien | Allstar Picture Library/Alamy Live News

Aidan O'Brien is to be inducted into the QIPCO British Champions Series Hall of Fame during the QIPCO Guineas Festival at Newmarket on Saturday. 

The 54-year-old Irishman follows his Ballydoyle predecessor Vincent O'Brien, along with Sir Michael Stoute and Sir Henry Cecil, as the fourth trainer to be nominated for inclusion in the official Hall of Fame for British Flat racing, which was launched in 2021.

He said, “It is incredible, and a privilege for us, as it is something we would never have expected.

“The people, and horses, that have gone before us I feel very privileged to have worked with. I can't say how delighted, and honoured, I feel.”

Having been chosen for induction by unanimous decision from the eight-strong panel, O'Brien will be presented with his Hall of Fame medal before racing on the day he is set to saddle the odds-on QIPCO 2,000 Guineas favourite City Of Troy. The Justify colt will be bidding to become his trainer's eleventh winner of the first British Classic of the season.

O'Brien set the tone from the off in his training career. On his first day as a trainer, June 7, 1993, he sent out Wandering Thoughts (Ire) to win at Tralee. He made his name initially as a trainer of jumpers, having taken over the licence from his wife Annemarie, who followed her father Joe Crowley in training successfully from her family's farm in Owning, Co Kilkenny. Annemarie made history when becoming the first woman to land the National Hunt trainers' championship in 1992/93 and her husband went on to be crowned champion Irish jumps trainer for five consecutive seasons from 1993/94.

The O'Briens moved to Ballydoyle in 1996, the year before Aidan became the youngest person, at the age of 26, to win the Irish Flat Trainers' Championship. He won it for a second time in 1999 and has held the title in every subsequent year, training an elite string of horses for John Magnier and his partners in the Coolmore operation, which include Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, Georg von Opel and Peter Brant.

O'Brien has also been champion trainer on six occasions in Britain, where he has won the Derby a record nine times, beginning with Galileo (Ire) in 2001. He also holds the record for the most number of wins in the 2,000 Guineas, with 10 victories, the same as his tally for the Oaks, while he has won the 1,000 Guineas seven times and the St Leger six times.

In 2017, he set a training world record of 28 Group/Grade 1 winners in a calendar year, beating the record of 25 held by American trainer Bobby Frankel.  Last year, Henry Longfellow (Ire) became the 4,000th winner of O'Brien's illustrious career when winning the G1 National S. on the trainer's home turf at the Curragh.

Aidan and Annemarie O'Brien's two sons, Joseph and Donnacha, are now trainers in their own right, having each been champion jockey in Ireland on two occasions.

Paying tribute to his father in a video to mark the occasion, Joseph said, “There have been lots of contributing factors to Dad's success. His work ethic is second to none. Seeing that first hand for several years has been inspiring.

“Having access to top-class horses, and achieving the very best, better than anyone could have expected, is another factor towards his success.”

He added, “I've learned everything I know about horses from my Mum and Dad. Dad works by setting an example of the dedication he puts towards his way of life. I was incredibly lucky, as have all my siblings been, to grow up in the incredible environment at Ballydoyle, and to be able to ride for Dad.”

 

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