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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 seven Breeders' Cup winners – the 2001 Juvenile with Johannesburg; the 2010 Marathon with Man Of Iron; two renewals of the Juvenile Turf with Wrote (Ire) (2011) and George Vancouver (2012); 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 2013 Breeders' Cup, O'Brien had won eight Group/Grade 1 races, including the Epsom Derby for a fourth time with Ruler Of The World (Ire), who progressed from being an unraced three-year-old to a Classic winner in less than two months. He also won a second English Classic with Leading Light (Ire) (St Leger). Other top-class victories included the Juddmonte International (Declaration of War), Queen Anne (Declaration Of War), Coronation Cup (St Nicholas Abbey (Ire)), Irish 2000 Guineas (Magician (Ire)), Dubai Sheema Classic (St Nicholas Abbey (Ire)) and Dewhurst Stakes (War Command).
- O'Brien is currently locked in a battle with current champion Richard Hannon for the British Trainer's title, which is decided on total prize money, rather than number of victories. Despite the relative paucity of Group/Grade 1 wins this season (in 2012 he notched 15 Group/Grade 1 wins and 20 in 2011), O'Brien, who last won the crown in 2008, is seeking his fifth such triumph.
- His victory in the St Leger at Doncaster with 7-2 favourite Leading Light, his fourth in the Classic, was O'Brien's 217th Group/Grade 1 success.
- Stable star St Nicholas Abbey took his career earnings to just under £5 million with a race record third successive victory in the Group 1 Coronation Cup at Epsom in June. It was his sixth success at the highest level. But the six-year-old Montjeu colt suffered a career-ending injury when fracturing a pastern during a piece of work in preparation for the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes in July, and underwent emergency colic surgery soon after. Sadly, the weight-bearing pin inserted into his cannon bone broke in late August forcing surgeons to immediately remove it and place his leg in a cast. However, it is hoped he will make a full recovery for a stud career.
- St Nicholas Abbey gave O'Brien a seventh victory in the Coronation Cup (G1). His first came with Yeats in 2005. That race was not nearly as strong as the earlier Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) which saw a brilliant tactical ride from Joseph O'Brien, as his mount beat five other G1 scorers, including Japan Cup winner Gentildonna.
- One of the few Europeans to earn success in the Breeders' Cup of 2012, the same team in the same race and secured the same result as O'Brien and jockey Ryan Moore combined with George Vancouver to follow up the 2011 triumph of Wrote in the Juvenile Turf. The son of 2008 Breeders' Cup Classic runner-up Henrythenavigator sadly failed to build on that success in 2013, racing without success three times at the top level in England.
- Lines Of Battle, who had been beaten in the 2012 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf by stablemate George Vancouver, gave the yard a second successive victory in the UAE Derby (G2) at Meydan following the victory of Daddy Long Legs in 2012.
- In June 2013, Ruler Of The World, a son of four-time champion sire Galileo, became O'Brien's fourth Epsom Derby winner following Galileo, High Chaparral and Camelot. He was the first winner of the Classic to be unraced as a two-year-old since Commander In Chief in 1993. He provided jockey Ryan Moore with a second victory in the race, following his success on Workforce in 2010.
- Declaration Of War gave O'Brien a third victory in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes with a scintillating performance at Royal Ascot and a fourth success in the Group 1 International Stakes at York, earning immediate quotes of 10-1 for the Breeders' Cup Classic. O'Brien went as far to say as the four-year-old War Front colt reminded him a lot of his previous International scorer Giants Causeway, who was touched off by Tiznow in the 2000 Classic.
- Magician, a son of top-class Coolmore sire Galileo, handed O'Brien a record ninth Irish 2000 Guineas victory and the yard's sixth in seven years under Joseph O'Brien, who was landing his third consecutive victory in race. Magician's easy victory at odds of 10-3, gave owner Sue Magnier a record eighth success in the mile Classic at the Curragh.
- In what was arguably an otherwise frustrating season for O'Brien, another Ballydoyle flag-bearer, four-time Group/Grade 1 winner Camelot (GB), who went close to winning an elusive Triple Crown at three, had a truncated 2013 campaign. Undefeated until thwarted by Encke in his bid to become the first horse since 1970 to win the Triple Crown in the St Leger at the end of his Classic campaign, he survived a near-death experience after a major bout of colic. Last year's 2000 Guineas and Derby winner ran just three times in 2013 but was turned over in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at 4-11 and then finished fourth in the Prince of Wales's at Royal Ascot in June when favourite. The decision to retire him was made on Oct. 14, 2013 and he will stand at Coolmore for next year's breeding season.
- While some of his older horses had a sub-par year, O'Brien's juveniles offered plenty of hope for the future. Geoffrey Chaucer, a son of Montjeu, provided O'Brien with a 13th victory in the Group 2 Beresford Stakes at the Curragh, a race won in recent seasons by top-class Sea The Stars and St Nicholas Abbey. Runner-up and stablemate Oklahoma City subsequently took the valuable 7 furlong Tattersalls Millions 2-Year-Old Trophy at Newmarket, while War Command handed O'Brien his third Dewhurst Stakes (G1) victory at Newmarket on Oct. 12, 2013.
- O'Brien's son, Joseph, broke Mick Kinane's 1993 record of 115 winners ridden in an Irish Flat racing season when Marvellous won a maiden at Navan on Oct. 9, 2013. O'Brien wasn't even born when Kinane set the record and looks set to earn a second successive champion jockeys title.
- Returning to the stratospheric heights of earlier years, in 2012 O'Brien's stellar feats included claiming the first four of the five English Classics with Camelot (2000 Guineas and Derby), Homecoming Queen (1000 Guineas) and Was (Oaks). Camelot was the flag-bearer, 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.
- Camelot's quest for the first English Triple Crown since Nijinsky II in 1970, with a victory in the 2012 Irish Derby after winning the first two legs (2000 Guineas and Epsom Derby), was beaten narrowly by Encke in the St. Leger by what many thought was a poor ride by 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.
- O'Brien saddled his seventh Racing Post Trophy (G1) winner in 2012 when Kingsbarns won under his son, Joseph, becoming one of the early 2012 Epsom Derby favorites, but was forced to miss the 2013 Epsom Classic after he developed a foot infection after tearing off a shoe in a routine gallop. He made a belated seasonal debut in September, finishing a distant last of six to The Fugue in the Irish Champion Stakes (G1).
- Pedro The Great, by Breeders' Cup Classic runner-up 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. 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.
- 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 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 2000 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. 10, 2013, he has 217 Group 1 wins in seven countries, and 54 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 2000 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|
|2012||Filly & Mare Turf||Up (Ire)||7th|
| ||Juvenile Fillies Turf||Infanta Branca (Ire)||10th|
| ||Juvenile Turf||George Vancouver||1st|
| ||Juvenile Turf||Lines of Battle (Ire)||7th|
| ||Marathon||Fame and Glory||dnf|
| ||Mile||Excelebration ||4th|
| ||Turf||St. Nicholas Abbey (Ire)||3rd|
| ||Turf||Treasure Beach||10th|
| ||Turf Sprint||Starspangledbanner (Aus)||10th|
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.