Ballydoyle Racing Stable in Co. Tipperary is acknowledged by many racing experts to be the finest training establishment in the world. Firstly Vincent O’Brien, and now his unrelated namesake Aidan O’Brien, have sent out horses from this tranquil setting to win all the major races in Europe and the USA. Vincent’s son David also used the Ballydoyle gallops during his brief but spectacularly successful training career in the early 1980’s.
When Vincent O’Brien hand-picked the property in 1950 it was a working farm, but several natural features of the place ensured him that it had the makings of the ideal academy of the racehorse. Thoroughbred racehorses are very fragile creatures but they require a considerable amount of speed work. Minimising the risk of injury is paramount, and on the natural contours of Ballydoyle, Vincent envisaged the perfect gallops on which no less than nine Epsom Derby winners would be prepared. Natural drainage and the fertile limestone land make for a good covering of grass which provides an extremely safe surface on which to gallop horses. The gentle inclines allow horses to exert themselves that little bit more without putting additional pressure on their front legs.
Joseph O’ Brien
Joseph O’Brien has achieved more in racing at the age of 23 that most could dream of achieving in a lifetime, yet the remarkable thing is that he is only just getting started.
As a jockey he rode 30 Group 1 winners including two renewals of the Derby at Epsom before the inevitable day came where his substantial frame made it impractical for him to make the weight required to ride on the Flat.
While he was still just 22 years old when that day arrived, he had already been playing a major role as a trainer under his father Aidan O’Brien’s name on the family farm in Owning, with Joseph being given all the credit for the success of Ivanovich Gorbatov in the JCB Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
Having been granted his training licence in June 2016, O’Brien made the perfect start by saddling four winners on his first day with runners and he hasn’t looked back since. He reached a notable milestone in September when saddling his first Group 1 winner as a trainer by saddling Intricately to win the Moyglare Stud Stakes and that is likely to be the first of many top-level successes under both codes.