O’Brien hails ‘unbelievable’ record

Aidan O’Brien sets new racing grade one record
Photo by Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

Aidan O’Brien was keen to share the accolades after setting a new record for the number of Grade 1 wins in a Flat racing season.

The Irish trainer surpassed Bobby Frankel’s long-standing record of 25 Grade 1 wins when Saxon Warrior, with Ryan Moore in the saddle, snatched victory at Doncaster.

“I’m delighted and delighted for everybody,” O’Brien told ITV. “There’s a lot of hard work put in by a lot of people in Ballydoyle and Coolmore.

“It’s unbelievable really. There are so many people who put in so much hard work day in, day out. If I start mentioning people, I’d forget somebody. They know who they are.

“It’s a privilege to be working with such special people. We’re in a very lucky position and we’re a small link in a big chain.”

 

For some time, it had been a question of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ O’Brien would set a new record.

He drew level with Frankel last Saturday when Hydrangea won the Qipco British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes at Ascot.

But the winning moment was anything but predictable, as Saxon Warrior produced a finish worthy of setting any record and which added to the occasion.

Saxon Warrior, the 13-8 favourite, hit the front two furlongs out only to be passed by the John Gosden-trained Roaring Lion inside the last, only for Saxon Warrior to battle back to claim a thrilling victory in the Racing Post Trophy.

“He travelled very strong and Ryan gave him a brilliant ride,” said O’Brien of Saxon Warrior.

Delighted

“When John’s horse went by him you thought he was beaten, but he found plenty and we’re delighted.”

O’Brien first broke the record in 2001 with 23 winners, which American trainer Frankel passed in 2003 when he set the record at 25 wins. He died six years later, and the legendary unbeaten racehorse Frankel was named after him.

O’Brien also recorded 23 winners in 2008.

With 24 Group One races remaining before the end of the year, O’Brien will have further opportunities to add to his tally.

On Sunday he has four of the seven runners in the Group One Criterium de Saint-Cloud in France, and another runner in the Criterium International.


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