By Caroline Whelan.
It’s exciting times for Tipperary man Fergal O’Brien. Following on from a hugely successful career as head lad, cum-assistant horse trainer, to the legendary Nigel Twiston Davies in Gloucestershire, O’Brien decided to go it alone in 2011. He is currently in the midst of his third and most successful season.
The fledgling yard started out in 2011/12 with 11 winners and the following year yielded a haul of 28, while remarkably he’s trained 32 winners so far this term – considering it’s now only November – and the National Hunt season is about to crank into top gear, this is an immense feat.
Last Saturday week at Cheltenham was a red-letter day for the yard. They scored a double at the November meeting with The Govaness winning the Mares bumper and Alvarado victorious in a Grade 3 Handicap Chase. Cheltenham racecourse is 12 miles from the yard so it made the achievement all the sweeter.
In addition to this, the stable sent out the exciting Gunner Fifteen to win a hot bumper at Uttoxeter on the same day. O’Brien says it’s something that he won’t forget for a long time.
“I went to bed about 3am – I didn’t want the day to end! It’s huge to have winners in Cheltenham, no matter what stage of the year it is,” he said. “We know so many people locally; both winners came in to a big cheer.
It’s certainly whetted the appetite for success in March. The way things are going now, it can’t come soon enough for O’Brien.
For more see this week’s edition of the Irish World