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NOTE: Stats include North American and selected international races. Click here to view selected international race list.
Stats Updated Through: 2/2/2009
|Win % (In-The-Money %)|
Top Associated Horses:
Duke of Marmalade,
Soldier of Fortune,
U S Ranger
Biography and Highlights:
- Born: Oct. 16, 1969, Wexford, Ireland
- Residence: Ballydoyle, Cashel, County Tipperary, Ireland
- Family: wife; Anne-Marie; and children, Joseph (now riding for his father as an accomplished jockey), Sarah (who represents Ireland in eventing), Ana and Donnacha Dennis, all of whom ride out at Ballydoyle before school ... Joseph earned champion apprentice jockey honors in 2010 riding at age 17, and won his first classic, the Two Thousand Guineas with Roderic O'Connor, trained by his father, in 2011.
- He has saddled six Breeders' Cup winners – the 2001 Juvenile with Johannesburg; the 2010 Marathon with Man Of Iron; two renewals of the Turf with High Chaparral (Ire) in 2002 and 2003, the latter in a dead-heat with Johar; and the one that probably means the most to him, the 2011 win in the Turf with St. Nicholas Abbey (Ire) with his son Joseph in the irons. His numerous second-place finishes include the narrow loss to Tiznow by Giant's Causeway in the 2000 Breeders' Cup Classic and Henrythenavigator's near miss in the same race in 2008.
- Going into the 2012 Breeders' Cup, O'Brien had won 23 Group/Graded races, including both the 2000 Guineas (Camelot) and 1000 Guineas (Homecoming Queen) in England, the Irish 2000 Guineas (Power), the Oaks (Was), the Epsom Derby (Camelot), the Irish Derby (Camelot), and the Coronation Cup (St. Nicholas Abbey), all Group 1 races he targets each year but this time he won them all.
- Was thought to be a foregone conclusion for the 2012 British trainer's title in June when he had already locked up seven of the 10 Group 1 races in England and bookmakers were laying odds on his bettering his 2008 count of 23 Group 1 wins. He had 20 Group 1 wins in 2011. By October, John Gosden had overtaken him in prize money, so the Breeders' Cup will decide the British training championship. It would be O'Brien's fifth British title, and first since 2008.
- His victory in the 2012 Epsom Oaks with 20-1 shot Was, his fourth in the classic, was O'Brien's career 200th Group/Grade 1 win.
- Clearly Camelot was the stable star in 2012, with O'Brien saying he was the best he had ever trained, high praise from the trainer of Galileo, Giant's Causeway, Rock of Gibraltar, Montjeu, etc. In seven races, Camelot has lost only twice (the heartbreaking second to Encke in the St. Leger, and a seventh in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe when he was later found to have colic issues) and will return to race as a four-year-old in 2013.
- Camelot's quest for the first English Triple Crown since Nijinsky II in 1970, with a victory in the Irish Derby after winning the first two legs (2000 Guineas and Epsom Derby), was stopped in the St. Leger by what many thought was a poor ride by O'Brien's son Joseph O'Brien. The loss also thwarted O'Brien's attempt to be the first trainer ever to land all five English classics in a single season. Joseph would have had the chance for redemption in the Arc had he not been too heavy, so Frankie Dettori rode. Camelot underwent colic surgery in early Oct. 2012.
- Pedro The Great, by Breeders' Cup Classic runnerup Henrythenavigator, provided O'Brien with a record 12th victory in the Phoenix Stakes (G1) in 2012. O'Brien has won this race, which he uses as a springboard to the following year's classics, seven of the last 10 years.
- O'Brien took over the training of Excelebration from Marco Botti in 2012 and despite running second to Frankel twice, turned him into a world-class miler with the 2012 Breeders' Cup Mile always in the plans for him. Excelebration won the Prix du Jacque le Marois (G1) and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (G1) as well as the Gladness Stakes (G3) in 2012.
- So You Think (NZ) headed to Australia for stud duty in 2012, but not before O'Brien won two more Group 1 races from him – the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Tattersalls Gold Cup. O'Brien admitted it took a year and a half to "learn how to train him" and apologized to Australian fans for "making a mess of it" in 2011 with overwork.
- Imperial Monarch took the Grand Prix de Paris (G1) to add to O'Brien's Group 1 haul, and additional Group races were won in 2012 by Daddy Long Legs, Battle of Marengo, Declaration of War, Magical Dream, Up, Windsor Palace, and Furner's Green.
- The O'Briens' home at Ballydoyle caught fire in late Sept. 2012, but everyone got out without being hurt. The roof was seriously damaged though and the house uninhabitable.
- Returning to the stratospheric heights of earlier years in 2011, O'Brien's stellar feats included a second consecutive sweep of the first three places in the Irish Derby, with Treasure Beach, Seville, and Memphis Tennessee. In 2010, the finishers were Cape Blanco, Midas Touch, and Jan Vermeer. ... The win was O'Brien's ninth Irish Derby, and his sixth consecutive victory in the race, won in previous years by Dylan Thomas, Soldier of Fortune, Frozen Fire, Fame and Glory, High Chaparral, Galileo, and Desert King.
- O'Brien won his 8th National Stakes (G1) in 2011 with Power, and also finished third with G2 winner David Livingston and fourth with Furner's Green ... Took first two positions in winning his fifth Irish One Thousand Guineas with Misty For Me, and Together second ... Daddy Long Legs gave O'Brien a sweep of the top three in the 2011 Royal Lodge Stakes (G2), with Tenth Star second, and Wrote third.
- O'Brien won his 7th Irish Champion Stakes (G1) in 2011 with Aussie sensation So You Think (NZ), who was purchased by O'Brien's patrons John Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith while owners Dato Tan and Tunku Yahaya retain partial ownership. ... O'Brien also won the Tattersalls Gold Cup (G1) and the Mooresbridge Stakes (G3) with the five-year-old, finished a neck behind Rewilding in the Prince of Wales' Stakes (G1), but fourth in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (G1).
- O'Brien saddled his sixth Racing Post Trophy (G1) winner in 2011 when Camelot won under his son, Joseph, becoming one of the early 2012 Epsom Derby favorites.
- Won his fourth Middle Park Stakes (G1) in 2011 with his second-string colt Crusade, who is being pointed toward the Breeders' Cup Juvenile on dirt. O'Brien also finished third in the Middle Park with Reply.
- O'Brien was the leading trainer at Royal Ascot in 2011 for the first time since 2007, with four wins, two seconds and a third, including a win by Fame and Glory in the Ascot Gold Cup (G1).
- Completed a Grade 1 double at Arlington Park in 2011, when he won the Arlington Million with Cape Blanco (Ire) and the Secretariat Stakes with Irish Derby (G1) winner Treasure Beach (Ire). Had previously won the Arlington Million with Powerscourt in 2005, and the Secretariat in 2000 with Ciro. ... Other major North American wins: the Man o'War and Joe Hirsch Turf Classic with Cape Blanco in 2011; Canadian International in 2010 with Joshua Tree and 2002 with Ballingarry; and Shadwell Turf Mile in 2007 with Aussie Rules and 2002 with Landseer.
- Brought Master of Hounds to the 2011 Kentucky Derby, where he finished a well-received fifth, and he returned to the United States in the Belmont Stakes, where he finished tenth. Previously, O'Brien entered Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Johannesburg in the 2002 Kentucky Derby, where he finished eighth behind War Emblem.
- Took special pride in his son Joseph, 18, riding Roderic O'Connor to victory in the Irish Two Thousand Guineas (G1) for Joseph's first classic win, and Maybe to victory in the Moyglare Stud Stakes (G1) for Ballydoyle in 2011. Joseph added the Racing Post Trophy (G1) in October aboard Camelot for Aidan as his first UK Group 1 victory.
- Went to Dubai with three entries in 2011 for the first time since a rift between Coolmore and Sheikh Mohammed shortly after he sent Powerscourt to a fifth-place finish in the 2005 Sheema Classic (G1). The Ballydoyle horses finishes: fourth for Cape Blanco in the Dubai World Cup (G1); second and sixth, respectively, for Master of Hounds and Alexander Pope in the UAE Derby (G2). Returned to Dubai in 2012 to win the UAE Derby with Daddy Long Legs.
- In 2010, O'Brien saddled 27 Group winners, 15 of them Group 1 winners with each of the Australian import Starspangledbanner, Irish Derby winner Cape Blanco, Fame And Glory, Lillie Langtry and Misty For Me each registering two top level triumphs … In 2009, O'Brien's best horses, Rip Van Winkle, Mastercraftsman and Fame And Glory, all fell prey to the awesome Sea The Stars on several occasions.
- Bred Beethoven (Ire), 10th in the 2009 Breeders' Cup Juvenile, in the name of his Whisperview Trading Ltd, a partnership with wife Anne-Marie.
- In 2008, he enjoyed an astonishing season, becoming the first trainer since 1935 to sweep all five of the Irish classics. He also dominated in Britain, racking up a total of 23 Group 1 wins around Europe, leaving him just two short of the world record for a calendar year. Highlights included a third successive Ascot Gold Cup for Yeats and five Group 1 victories in a row for Duke Of Marmalade. Yeats went on to win his fourth Ascot Gold Cup in 2009 before retiring.
- His 2001 season was nothing short of sensational, with victories in seven European classics, he won 22 out of the 78 Group 1 races contested around Europe in 2001, meaning that he became the first overseas trainer to win the British trainers’ title since Vincent O’Brien in 1977 with 20 victories from 99 runners and almost £3.4 million in prize money.
- Through Oct. 3, 2011, he has 188 Group 1 wins in six countries, and 45 classic races. Desert King provided him with his first Group 1 winner on the flat, in the 1996 National Stakes, and his first classic win, in the Two Thousand Guineas.
- Other Group 1 winners he has trained include Yesterday, Minardi, Spartacus, Sequoyah, Necklace, Black Sam Bellamy, Shahtoush, Sophisticat, Mozart, Saratoga Springs, Aristotle, Sunspangled, Landseer, Orpen, Fasliyev, Second Empire, Ciro, Hold That Tiger, Brian Boru, Powerscourt, Ad Valorem, Oratorio, King Charlemagne, Alexandrova and Holy Roman Emperor.
- Aidan was runner-up in his first season at Ballydoyle, but won the Irish flat title in 1996, the youngest to ever do so. He finished third in 1997 but regained the title in 1998 and has won it every year since. ... Was the youngest to win the British champion trainer title in 2001, and the first overseas trainer to hold the British title since Vincent O'Brien. Has won the British title three more times: 2002, 2007, and 2008
- Top horses from previous years include Rock of Gibraltar, who won seven straight Group 1 events in 2002; Galileo, winner of the English and Irish Derbys in 2001; High Chaparral (Ire), winner of the 2002 English and Irish Derbys; Dylan Thomas, winner of the 2006 Irish Derby who went on to land five Group 1 races, including the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, the following year; Peeping Fawn; George Washington; Giant's Causeway; Scorpion; Hawk Wing; Johannesburg; Stravinsky and King of Kings (O'Brien also bred Rock of Gibraltar in partnership with his wife and father-in-law)
- Backed by owners John Magnier and Michael Tabor of the Coolmore Group, he gradually cut back on his jumping string in the mid-1990's and moved his flat horses to the famous Ballydoyle stables in Cashel, County Tipperary, former home of the previous great Irish trainer, Vincent O’Brien, who is no relation.
- He was champion amateur rider over jumps in the 1993-94 season … He has dominated Irish racing ever since, becoming champion jumps trainer for each of the subsequent five seasons and his best jumper, Istabraq, won the Champion Hurdle in 1998, 1999 and 2000.
- A son of a farmer and small-scale trainer, O'Brien spent three years as assistant to Jim Bolger before becoming assistant to his future wife Anne-Marie, a former model and daughter of trainer Joe Crowley. Anne-Marie had taken over the license from her father in Jan. 1991 and became the first female champion trainer when landing the jumps title in 1992-93. She immediately handed the license to Aidan, then age 23, and he scored his first winner on his first day as a trainer when Wandering Thoughts won at Tralee.
Breeders' Cup Record
|1998||Mile||Second Empire (Ire)||6th|
| ||Juvenile||Mull of Kintyre||4th|
| ||Juvenile Fillies||Warrior Queen||8th|
| ||Juvenile||Turnberry Isle (Ire)||6th|
| ||Classic||Galileo (Ire)||6th|
| ||Juvenile Fillies||Sophisticat||5th|
| ||Mile||Bach (Ire)||3rd|
| ||Sprint||Mozart (Ire)||11th|
| ||Turf||Milan (GB)||2nd|
| ||Juvenile||Hold That Tiger ||3rd|
| ||Juvenile||Van Nistelrooy||5th|
| ||Mile||Landseer (GB)||dnf|
| ||Mile||Rock of Gibraltar (Ire)||2nd|
| ||Turf||High Chaparral (Ire)||1st|
|2003||Classic||Hold That Tiger||5th|
| ||Filly & Mare Turf||L'Ancresse (Ire)||2nd|
| ||Filly & Mare Turf||Yesterday (Ire)||3rd|
| ||Turf||High Chaparral||1st (DH)|
|2004||Filly & Mare Turf||Yesterday (Ire)||5th|
| ||Juvenile Fillies||Mona Lisa (GB)||11th|
| ||Mile||Antonius Pius||2nd|
| ||Turf||Powerscourt (GB)||3rd|
| ||Filly & Mare Turf||Mona Lisa (GB)||10th|
| ||Juvenile||Ivan Denisovich (Ire)||12th|
| ||Mile||Ad Valorem||9th|
| ||Turf||Ace (Ire)||2nd|
|2006||Classic||George Washington (Ire)||6th|
| ||Mile||Ad Valorem||13th|
| ||Mile||Aussie Rules||8th|
| ||Turf||Scorpion (Ire)||5th|
|2007||Classic||George Washington (Ire)||dnf|
| ||Filly & Mare Turf||All My Loving (Ire)||5th|
| ||Juvenile Turf||Achill Island (Ire)||2nd|
| ||Mile||Excellent Art (GB)||2nd|
| ||Turf||Dylan Thomas (Ire)||5th|
|2008||Classic||Duke of Marmalade (Ire)||9th|
| ||Filly & Mare Turf||Halfway to Heaven||7th|
| ||Juvenile Fillies Turf||Heart Shaped ||2nd|
| ||Juvenile Turf||Westphalia (Ire)||2nd|
| ||Mile||US Ranger||5th|
| ||Turf||Red Rock Canyon (Ire)||6th|
| ||Turf||Soldier of Fortune (Ire)||4th|
|2009||Classic||Rip Van Winkle (Ire)||10th|
| ||Dirt Mile||Master Craftman (Ire)||4th|
| ||Juvenile||Alfred Nobel||10th|
| ||Juvenile Fillies Turf||Lillie Langtry||8th|
| ||Juvenile Turf||VIscount Nelson||8th|
| ||Marathon||Man of Iron||1st|
|2010||Juvenile Fillies Turf||Together (Ire)||5th|
| ||Juvenile Turf||Master of Hounds||6th|
| ||Marathon||Bright Horizon (GB)||11th|
| ||Mile||Beethoven (Ire)||10th|
|2011||Classic||So You Think (NZ)||6th|
| ||Filly & Mare Turf||Misty For Me (Ire)||3rd|
| ||Juvenile||Daddy Long Legs||12th|
| ||Juvenile Fillies||Homecoming Queen (Ire)||14th|
| ||Juvenile Fillies Turf||Up (Ire)||4th|
| ||Juvenile Turf||Wrote (Ire)||1st|
| ||Marathon||Harrison's Cave||9th|
| ||Mile||Zoffany (Ire)||9th|
| ||Turf||Await the Dawn||7th|
| ||Turf||St. Nicholas Abbey (Ire)||1st|
Biographies on jockeys, trainers and owners are from the Breeders' Cup World Championships events from 2001 through 2009, and are intended as informational resources. Biographies will be updated if an individual is again a participant in the Breeders' Cup World Championships.
Biographies are available for most horses appearing in the top 100 money earnings list, and/or for those who are frequently making headlines in the news starting with the 2006 Triple Crown season.