Joseph O’Brien has been a big name in the world of racing for a while now and you’d be forgiven for thinking he was older than 23. The son of Aidan enjoyed an excellent career as a rider and rode multiple Group One and Classic wins for his father before taking the decision to retire from being a jockey last summer.
The reason O’Brien called time on his riding career was due to his height and weight and the fact he was pretty much having to starve himself to make sure he stayed the right side of the scales.
The 23-year-old always knew his time as a jockey wouldn’t be long, but he has still had a career that many could only dream of and there was a famous day at the start of the month as the Irishman saddled his first runners as a trainer.
Joseph had been training horses in his father’s name for a while and was the man responsible for Ivanovich Gorbatov’s win in the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham in March. Until he got his license though, the runners would continue to run in Aidan’s name.
So, what could he achieve on his first day as a trainer? Well, it was a pretty special introduction to training for O’Brien, as he saddled no fewer than four winners.
These weren’t all odds-on good things either as all the horses won at odds-against and were clearly placed excellently by O’Brien.
What can he go on and achieve as a trainer? Well, of course it all depends on the support he gets. If some Coolmore runners get sent to the 23-year-old, he could have some superstars on his hand and despite being a big rival now, he’ll always have the experience of his father to turn to.
It’s a really exciting time for O’Brien and I think he is well worth following this season. He could go on to do something really special and you’d expect when Aidan O’Brien does stop training (this is a long way away) it will be a smooth process for Joseph to take over one of the biggest yards in the world.
He’ll continue to improve and learn and who knows what he might achieve in the years to come.