There’s an important card at The Curragh, on Sunday, where two races really stand out. The G1 Keeneland Phoenix Stakes (3:35pm) is the feature contest. Caravaggio won this event last year, making it 3 in a row for Aidan O’Brien (Dick Whittington 2014 & Air Force Blue 2015).
Some of the most-promising 2-year-olds to have emerged, this season, will be competing. They include Actress, Sioux Nation (both O’Brien inmates) and Gordon Elliott’s Beckford.
The G3 Phoenix Sprint Stakes (4:10pm) will feature the wily old campaigner Gordon Lord Byron. Ryan Moore will be on-board Washington Dc, yet another horse trained by Aidan O’Brien.
How O’Brien Became The Boss
Aidan O’Brien is considered to be one of the best horse racing trainers in the world. His rise to the top has happened very quickly and he only achieved his first Classic victory in 2007. Perhaps, with hindsight, it was the way he entered the exclusive club of Classic-winning trainers that gave away the fact that an extremely talented individual had entered the fray?
He followed-up his win with Classic Park in the Irish 1000 Guineas with an equally important victory the very next day. He saddled Desert King for the 2000 Guineas and the horse duly took the spoils for an outstanding double. Within a few weeks, Desert King had also beaten all-comers in the Irish Derby and the racing industry was left in no doubt that there was a new diner at the top table!
King Of Kings
The incredible double-winning weekend at the Curragh Racecourse proved to be even more significant than racing fans first thought. Far less attention was paid to the fact that he introduced a two year-old horse named King Of Kings at the same meeting. King Of Kings made a winning debut, but a great deal more lay in store. That horse would go on to win the even more prestigious Newmarket 2000 Guineas, the very next year.
However, it would be wrong to say that O’Brien was an unknown before his Curragh coup. He had already had success as a National Hunt trainer, both in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland. This included big wins at the Cheltenham Festival. Flat racing is a completely different kettle of fish though and very few National Hunt trainers are able to forge a new career on the flat at the very highest level. While O’Brien already had G1 flat race successes under his belt, only a select handful of trainers get to taste Classic victories.
A Born Winner
O’Brien now has an immense haul of G1 winners to his name and those victories have been achieved in England, Ireland and across the Channel in France. Some of the best known horses that he has worked with include Giants Causeway (a winner of 5 G1 encounters), Rock Of Gibraltar (a 7-times G1 victor) and the great Galileo (a winner of the Epsom Derby, the Irish Derby, as well as the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes. He also trained Johannesburg, one of the most impressive post-war two year old horses. Johannesburg remained unbeaten in all seven races as a juvenile, bagging 4 G1 wins in the process.
Other terrific animals that have benefitted from O’Brien’s schooling include High Chaparral, George Washington, Dylan Thomas, Peeping Fawn, Duke Of Marmalade, Henrythenavigator, Mastercraftsman, Yeats, Fame And Glory, Rip Van Winkle, Lillie Langtry, Cape Blanco, Starspangledbanner, Minding, Highland Reel and Churchill. He continues to produce outstanding colts and fillies to the circuit and looks likely to have a say in most of the big races taking place over the next few years.
Betting With RaceBets
If you want to back an Aidan O’Brien horse, this Sunday at The Curragh, create your own account with RaceBets now!