“We Love Winning Races” – Joseph O'Brien Records 1,000th Winner

Joseph O'Brien: “That's what we get up every day to do – to win as many races as we can.” | Goffs


One thousand winners and counting. Joseph O'Brien passed yet another important milestone in his training career on Saturday when Al Riffa (Fr) (Wootton Bassett {GB}) became his 1,000th winner in the opening seven-furlong maiden at the Curragh.

And what style it was achieved in. Al Riffa, who emerged as a major eye-catcher when staying on for second in a Curragh maiden last month, showed the benefit of that initial outing to confirm himself a potential top-notcher in the making.

It was just over six years ago when O'Brien enjoyed a dream start to his career as a trainer when, on June 6, 2016, he sent out four winners on his first day with runners.

While O'Brien trained Ivanovich Gorbatov (Ire) (Montjeu {Ire}) to win the 2016 Triumph Hurdle in all but name, he didn't have to wait long to enjoy official top-flight success when Intricately (Ire) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}) stormed to G1 Moyglare S. glory under his brother Donnacha later that summer. 

But it was another winner partnered by Donnacha, the Irish Derby success of Latrobe (Ire) in 2018, that was put forward as the highlight of the first 1,000 winners by the trainer, who credited the team at Owning Hill when passing the important milestone. 

O'Brien said, “It's a testimony to the team of people we have assembled on the hill. We have an amazing team of staff and they work hard every day. As well as that, we have been supported by brilliant owners all over the world and we're very appreciative of that. We're looking forward to the rest of the season now.”

He added, “I think Latrobe winning the Irish Derby with Donnacha riding him was the highlight [of the first 1,000 winners]. Obviously we have been lucky to win a lot of big races all over the world but, for Donnacha to ride a Classic winner for us, it will be very hard to ever top that.”

Featuring among O'Brien's 1,000 winners are the Melbourne Cups achieved with Twilight Payment (Ire) and Rekindling (GB), a Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf victory with Iridessa (Ire) (Ruler Of The World {Ire}), St Leger glory with Galileo Chrome (Ire) and multiple Group 1 wins with State Of Rest (Ire) (Starspangledbanner {Aus}), including the Saratoga Derby, the Cox Plate and more recently the Prince Of Wales's S. at Royal Ascot. 

O'Brien, whose father Aidan hit the 1,000-winner mark within five years of taking out his licence, has also trained a number of top-level winners over jumps, highlighted by Edwulf (GB) (Kayf Tara {GB}) in the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown and Cheltenham festival scorers Band Of Outlaws (Ire) (Fast Company {Ire}), Early Doors (Fr) (Soldier Of Fortune {Ire}) and Banbridge (Ire) (Doyen {Ire}). 

Asked what drives him, the 29-year-old said, “We love winning races and that's what it comes down to. I have grown up in that environment and, when we win races, it puts everyone in good form in the yard and at home. That's what we get up every day to do–to win as many races as we can. That's the life we live and we put everything into it.”

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