Joseph O’Brien is from the famous Irish racing family, the O’Brien family. Son of master flat trainer Aidan, Joseph quickly made strides in the sport as a very young flat jockey. With plenty of success riding for his dad, he decided to retire from riding early, so he could concentrate on training.
During his training career so far, O’Brien has been able to master training both winners on the flat and winners over fences. He’s done it at the highest level, too, with winners at Royal Ascot while also winning Classics in Ireland and England, in France, at the Breeders Cup and the biggest race in Australia, the Melbourne Cup.
All of this was done before he’d turned 30, an impressive start to his training career, a strong riding career, and who knows what will lie ahead for this incredibly talented Irishman.
Joseph Patrick O’Brien Grand National Wins
Joseph Patrick O’Brien has never trained a horse that has won the Grand National.
Their best finish to date was in 2023 with A Wave Of The Sea ridden by Shane Fitzgerald who came 9th.
|2023||A Wave Of The Sea||9||£10,000||Shane Fitzgerald|
|2023||Darasso||Fence 2 - Unseated Rider||-||Luke Dempsey|
Success Over Jumps at the Highest Level
The Grand National is a race that has so far eluded Joseph O’Brien, but it’s not a race he’s had a lot of runners for, and the first of those came in 2023. He would saddle two runners in the race that year, with A Wave Of The Sea under Shane Fitzgerald doing the best of those, finishing ninth and Darasso, his other runner, unseating rider at the second fence.
Elsewhere over jumps, it has been better for O’Brien. Grade One wins include races such as the Irish Gold Cup, Christmas Hurdle, Ascot Chase and Manifesto Novice Chase, amongst others. He’s been supported by JP McManus and received many horses, and the feeling is that there is far more to come from him as a trainer over jumps if he can continue to balance out flat and national hunt racing.
Success on the Flat as a Trainer
Given the fact that he was a jockey on the flat when turning his hand to training, the expectation was the Joseph O’Brien would be able to hit the ground running better on the level, and that’s certainly been the case. He’s already achieved a lot during his time as a flat trainer, including winning at Royal Ascot and winning a classic in both Ireland and England.
In 2017, O’Brien kicked off with a bang as he won the Melbourne Cup in Australia, the race that stops a nation. He would build on a huge success, winning the Irish Derby a year later to confirm his promise as a top trainer further.
A year later, in 2019, O’Brien would take his success to another new country, winning for the first time at the Breeder Cup meeting in America. At this point, he’d not had much success in the UK but was able to pick up a classic in 2020, with Galileo Chrome winning the St Leger at Doncaster in 2020.
Success at Royal Ascot and in France would both come in 2022, further enhancing the reputation of O’Brien as a flat trainer if he needed it.
Career as a Flat Jockey
Of course, before all of his training success, O’Brien would first make headlines as a jockey, riding predominantly for his father, Aidan. He would share the Irish Apprentice Championship title in 2010 during his first full season under rules, with his debut winner coming a year earlier in 2009.
In 2011, O’Brien would secure his first classic win when he led Roderic O’Connor to victory in the Irish 2000 Guineas. There was more classic success a year later, but this time in England, as O’Brien partnership Camelot, trained by his dad, to win the Epsom Derby. When completing that victory, the pair became the first father/son trainer and jockey combo to win the Derby.
Beginning to dominate regular racing in Ireland, O’Brien lifted the Irish Jockeys Championship in 2012 with 87 winners. Then a year later, he would retain his title, but this time would break the record held by Mick Kinane for the number of winners, ending the season with 126 on the board, ten more than the previous record.
Further success would come after that, riding on the biggest stages in the world for his father, and the pair kept bagging the winners. However, in 2016, Joseph O’Brien stepped down from riding because he wanted to concentrate on training horses instead.
It ended an excellent riding career, cut short, many people would say, but it is also fair to say that Joseph had far bigger plans in his life and had been looking at training for some time. He wanted to dominate the training ranks and thought the best way to do that was to start early, so he hung up his saddle and got on with the task of training horses.
Famous Horses Trained by Joseph O’Brien
Here are some of the most famous horses trained by Joseph O’Brien.
- Fakir D’oudairies
- Le Richebourg
- Galileo Chrome