Aidan O’Brien will look to break world record next weekend
Trainer will target Doncaster and Saint-Cloud after equalling Bobby Frankel’s record
Trainer Aidan O’ Brien with Hydrangea after winning The QIPCO British Chahamions Fillies & Mares Stakes Race at Ascot. Photograph: Julian Herbert/PA Wire
Aidan O’Brien is likely to throw plenty of ammunition at the three Group One races in Europe next weekend in an attempt to claim the world record for most top-level victories in a year outright.
The master of Ballydoyle drew level on 25 victories with the late Bobby Frankel when Hydrangea won the British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes on Champions Day at Ascot.
It has been an amazing season for O’Brien, 48, who is never slow to credit others with success. The likes of Churchill, Winter, Roly Poly and Hydrangea herself are all multiple Group One winners.
“I think it’s the best group of horses we’ve had, a whole team in all different sectors,” said O’Brien.
“They’ve progressed all season, a lot of them are very well bred, by Galileo, and they’ve improved all year.
“It’s a big team effort, there’s a lot of links in the chain and everyone works so hard.
“The lads [Coolmore] put a lot of effort into getting the right people for the team.”
With the season drawing to a close opportunities are running out for O’Brien, but there are chances at Doncaster and Saint-Cloud next weekend.
“There’s the Racing Post Trophy and two races in France next week so hopefully we’ll have plenty of runners,” O’Brien told ITV Racing.
“Galileo was very special, just as a racehorse and now as a stallion. We do our best, it’s very hard to get our ducks in a row all the time, we’re very grateful whenever we win.”
Part-owner Michael Tabor could not speak highly enough of O’Brien, but also credited the team effort.
“I suppose it is like baking a cake. You have to have all the ingredients and if you don’t have one of them the cake is okay but not quite right. Hopefully we have all the right ingredients and I suppose the proof of the pudding is in the eating,” said Tabor.
“It is a fabulous achievement by Aidan. It is incredible. Really, words can’t describe how dedicated he is and the whole family. It is a marvellous achievement.
“I think he takes it all in his stride. I don’t think there is one particular skill. I think it is his all-round conscientious day-in-day-out relentless attention to detail. I think in all walks of life, attention to detail is important and he certainly typifies that.
“He is a modest man. He is not one to go shouting from the rooftops, that is the way he is. I am sure when he gets home at night he sits back in a chair and maybe watches a replay and takes great satisfaction from it, like we all do.”
Brian Kavanagh, chief executive of Horse Racing Ireland, said: “Aidan O’Brien’s career has never dipped below extraordinary. His latest achievement in equalling the world record for Group One victories in a year is a new high and on behalf of Horse Racing Ireland I would like to extend my congratulations to him on an outstanding achievement.
“Knowing Aidan, he will be keen to deflect as much praise as possible and will rightly shine a light on his team at Ballydoyle, his owners and the horses in his yard. But this is very much a personal landmark in the career of an exceptional trainer.
“We have seen that in Ireland for a quarter of a century, but with this world record will come due global recognition for a brilliant Irish horseman.”
As well as reaching Frankel’s landmark, O’Brien was confirmed as champion trainer in Britain for the sixth time, being presented with his trophy by runner-up John Gosden, after the latter had won the Champion Stakes with Cracksman.
O’Brien added: “We’ve been very lucky to have an awful lot of very special horses.
“We have had horses who have run strongly all season, we’ve been very lucky.”
AIDAN O’BRIEN’S GROUP ONE WINNERS IN 2017
Churchill (Qipco 2000 Guineas) Newmarket, May 6th
Winter (Qipco 1000 Guineas) Newmarket, May 7th
Churchill (Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas) Curragh, May 27th
Winter (Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas) Curragh, May 28th
Highland Reel (Investec Coronation Cup) Epsom, June 2nd
Wings Of Eagles (Investec Derby) Epsom, June 3rd
Highland Reel (Prince of Wales’s Stakes) Ascot, June 21st
Caravaggio (Commonwealth Cup) Ascot, June 23rd
Winter (Coronation Stakes) Ascot, June 23rd
Capri (Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby) Curragh, July 1st
Roly Poly (Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes) Newmarket, July 14th
Roly Poly (Prix Rothschild) Deauville, July 30th
Winter (Qatar Nassau Stakes) Goodwood, August 3rd
Sioux Nation (Keeneland Phoenix Stakes) Curragh, August 13th
Hydrangea (Coolmore Matron Stakes) Leopardstown, September 9th
Happily (Moyglare Stud Stakes) Curragh, September 10th
Order Of St George (Comer Group Irish St Leger) Curragh, September 10th
Capri (William Hill St Leger) Doncaster, September 16th
Clemmie (Juddmonte Cheveley Park) Newmarket, September 30th
US Navy Flag (Juddmonte Middle Park) Newmarket, September 30th
Happily (Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere) Chantilly, October 1st
Rhododendron (Prix de l’Opera) Chantilly, October 1st
Roly Poly (Sun Chariot Stakes) Newmarket, October 7th
US Navy Flag (Darley Dewhurst Stakes) Newmarket, October 14th
Hydrangea (Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes) Ascot, October 21st