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Vincent O'Brien - Corkman & World Renowned Irish Horse Trainer
The renowned Corkman was a horse trainer, whose own pedigree in the sport reached legendary fame worldwide amongst racing fans. In the 20th century he strode majestically with a catalogue of famous winners and punters anxious to lay off some of their hard earned cash would scan the racing pages looking for an O’Brien trained horse. Backing O’Briens horses almost gave a degree of security to race fans.
Vincent was born in 1917 at Clashgannif, Churchtown, a rural outpost cosily nestled between Buttevant and Charleville, Co. Cork and near the Golden Vale of Ireland. He commenced training in 1943, aged twenty six years, and his confidence soared just a year later when an unforgettable bet he placed, paid off handsome dividends. Two horses, Good Days and Drybo, under his command, were running in the 1944 Irish Cambridgeshire.
Vincent gambled a heavy sum of £2 each way ‘double’ and his racing fortune took off from there, as both rides strode home, earning the Cork trainer a cool £1,000. Vincent was on his way. O’Briens first training stables were based at his father’s Churchtown yard, where he spent the first eight years.
His move to Ballydoyle, near Cashel, Co. Tipperary, resulted in the establishment of one of the finest horse training venues in the world.
The following horses are amongst his collection of famous winners:
National Hunt- Cottage Rake – three Gold Cups
Hatton’s Grace – three Champion Hurdles
Knock Hard – Gold Cup
Grand Nationals with Early Mist, Royal Tan and Quare Times.
Flat- Ballymoss; Gladness; Sir Ivor; Nijinsky; Roberto; Thatch; Try My Best; The Minstrel; Cloonlara; Alleged; Golden Fleece; Solinius; Royal Academy (Breeder’s Cup, America)
Vincent O’Brien trained scores of many more notable winners from the 1950s until his retirement in 1994, aged seventy seven years.
At Ascot in 1975 he brought seven horses to the course and rode off with a glorious six triumphs to the dismay of punters. In the second half of his racing career, he became part owner of many of the horses riding out at his stables and he would later describe this transition, as one of the shrewdest moves he made in racing cirles.
His last great success was the 1982 Epsom Derby, won by Golden Fleece.
Vincent O’Brien, was a famous Horse Racing Trainer and is a Famous Son Of Ireland.
Derry JF Doody