John Magnier

Breeding Digest: Justify Straddling The Seas

Having long served as Champion Bore regarding the schism between gene pools either side of the Atlantic, I always find it curious that Europeans so readily shed their inhibitions about American stallions once a 2-year-old is introduced to their domestic market by a compatriot pinhooker. That's presumably because they are nowadays so enslaved by the clock--whatever their contrary claims--that pedigree has almost been neutralized at 2-year-old sales. Functionality is all. Admittedly an elite sire will put a premium on a bullet time. But just as unfashionable local stallions have achieved...

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O'Brien: A Living Legend in the Hall of Fame

We could run the numbers, as they say. What they will tell us is that Aidan O'Brien has dominated racing both in his home country of Ireland and its nearest neighbour, where he will this Saturday be inducted into the QIPCO British Horseracing Hall of Fame.  It doesn't end there, of course. He is known and revered around the world, his tally of 419 Group or Grade 1 winners (including National Hunt) having also been chalked up in America, Australia, Canada, Dubai, France, Hong Kong and Italy. No other trainer...

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O'Brien Has Saratoga Aim For Guineas And Derby Favourite City Of Troy

Aidan O'Brien is busy preparing for what could turn out to be one of his boldest ever campaigns at Ballydoyle with plans in place for City Of Troy (Justify) to tackle the 2,000 Guineas and the Derby followed by an audacious tilt at the Travers S. on the dirt at Saratoga later this summer. Meanwhile, dual Derby and Breeders' Cup hero Auguste Rodin (Deep Impact {Jpn}), arguably the most important older horse to have been kept in training at Ballydoyle for many years, is set to get his campaign underway...

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“I Needed A Change” – Seamie Heffernan Explains Ballydoyle Departure

For the first time since 1996, Seamie Heffernan will not be based at Ballydoyle--but Aidan O'Brien's long and trusted ally has revealed that he still hopes to be riding big-race winners in the Coolmore colours in the future.  It has been one of the worst kept secrets in Irish racing for some time that Heffernan, one of the constants at Ballydoyle for almost three decades now, would not be returning to the fold.  And on the eve of the opening day of the Flat season in Ireland, Heffernan lifted the...

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Could Sunday Silence's Grandson Close the Circle?

One way or another, plenty of people in our industry seem to think that it has reached a crossroads. But if a shutdown at the home of the Kentucky Derby makes us feel as though we can't get a break in the traffic, maybe we're just looking the wrong way. Because there's a chance that the real game-changing moment was happening 4,000 miles away, where the 244th running of the original Derby was last Saturday won by a horse excitingly equipped to open a new chapter in the story of...

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This Side Up: A Game of Accident and Design

We can harness Thoroughbreds to our best and worst, to our altruism or avarice--but thankfully we will never alter the essential, inherent wonder of the breed, nor maintain the illusion that we are ever truly in control of its destiny. There's a genuine possibility, this weekend, that a German colt could elevate himself to the top of the global sophomore crop by winning the G1 Japan Cup. Yet Tünnes (Ger) (Guiliani {Ire}) was a wholly inadvertent acquisition at the Baden-Baden yearling sales, his purchaser having dropped out at €20,000 only...

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Coolmore's John Magnier The 2022 Recipient Of The Sir Peter O'Sullevan Award

Coolmore's John Magnier was the recipient of the 2022 Peter O'Sullevan Award and was celebrated at the 25th edition of the Peter O'Sullevan Annual Award Lunch in London on Thursday. The 74-year-old received his award from JP McManus at Coolmore, as he was not present at the lunch. "I don't deserve it, but I'm happy to get it," Magnier told ITV Racing anchor Ed Chamberlin in an interview, which was played during the ceremony. "I'm blown away by it, really." Magnier spoke in favour of racing's various factions coming together...

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The Major Talking Points From Day Four at Royal Ascot

Hard to keep a rider as talented as Frankie Dettori out of the spotlight and, after a difficult start to the royal meeting, the legendary rider answered his critics aboard Inspiral (GB) (Frankel {GB}), who produced a stunning performance to win the G1 Coronation S. From Dettori bouncing back to Perfect Power (Ire) (Ardad {Ire}) confirming himself one of the fastest horses in training, in doing so sparking debate about where he may stand as a stallion, Brian Sheerin discusses some of the main talking points from another hugely entertaining...

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Galileo's Changingoftheguard Gets Royal Winner Number 80 For Aidan O'Brien

All the rage for Friday's G2 King Edward VII S., Changingoftheguard (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) issued a display of resolute galloping in the Westerberg silks to make it a landmark 80th Royal Ascot winner for Aidan O'Brien. Fifth in the Derby only 13 days ago, the G3 Chester Vase winner was taken to the lead by Ryan Moore soon after the start and was asked several questions on the long journey to the home straight, but kept responding to pressure to see off all bar the Derby 11th Grand Alliance (Ire)...

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Passport to Victory

Heritage, as a substitute for internationally adequate prize money, is literally priceless to the nation that cradled the Thoroughbred. Nowhere is this more apparent than at Royal Ascot, where prestige and pageant will next week again draw not just global attention but also global participation. As a result, this most definitively English of occasions has in recent years become ever more cosmopolitan.

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This Side Up: Passport to Victory

Heritage, as a substitute for internationally adequate prize money, is literally priceless to the nation that cradled the Thoroughbred. Nowhere is this more apparent than at Royal Ascot, where prestige and pageant will next week again draw not just global attention but also global participation. As a result, this most definitively English of occasions has in recent years become ever more cosmopolitan. It's a pretty precarious arrangement for British racing, in that the economic model harnessed to its cultural assets-namely, an export market for yearlings and horses-in-training-threatens ultimately to erode...

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Lester Piggott: Born To Ride

There's plenty going on in the world at present, including in Great Britain with the daily-changing tragi-comic farce which masquerades as domestic politics.  We're definitely not in the 'silly season' in which news editors have to look far and wide, including to the back pages, to find the front-page leads.  Within the sports' pages racing no longer holds its prime position of yesteryear, and when the Cazoo Derby is run at Epsom this Saturday, it will have to fight for its few column inches in the national press. Under the...

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