20 May 2019
By Elaine Murphy
Ballydoyle trainer Aidan O’Brien continues to set extremely high standards, and the 49-year old broke yet another record at the beginning of May when saddling his tenth 2,000 Guineas winner. It’s the third consecutive year that the County Tipperary-handler has been victorious in the Group 1, and it’s unlikely to be his last. Magna Grecia’s success at Newmarket meant that O’Brien has now won 50% of all classics held in Britain since 2014, and he appears to have another hugely talented string of horses at his disposal.
A TENTH QIPCO 2000 Guineas victory for Aidan O’Brien as MAGNA GRECIA storms home under son Donnacha 🔟🙌 pic.twitter.com/TlmLBPUVue
— Champions Series (@ChampionsSeries) May 4, 2019
O’Brien is one of the savviest operators in the game, and currently boasts a 24% strike rate in Ireland this season. He fired in another winner at Cork racecourse on April 20th, with Gentle Bellini coming out on top in a three-year-old maiden event, beating stablemate Deep Atlantic in the process. Two of his five two-year-olds have been victorious in Ireland already, and with the UK flat season still in its infancy, the winners are unlikely to dry up anytime soon.
Magna Grecia has now won three of his first four starts, and cleared the field by two-and-a-half lengths in front of the packed-out Grandstand. O’Brien does have access to some of the best-bred equine talent in Ireland, but his superb record in big races cannot be downplayed. In 2017, he trained 28 winners in Grade 1 events and Group races, which enabled him to set a new world record.
That was just the latest in a long line of achievements for the handler, and his domination of the UK and Irish racing looks set to continue for many years to come. His glittering CV is extremely impressive, and he has had a winner at every single Irish track, with the exception of Laytown. He has also enjoyed success in the UAE, Hong Kong and Canada, whilst he’s also finished as top trainer at Royal Ascot on numerous occasions.
Britain’s most valuable race meeting tends to attract an international field, and it is one of the most anticipated events on the sporting calendar. O’Brien already has a number of fancied runners who have been earmarked for a trip to Berkshire in mid-June, and many of them are likely to go off as favourites. Monarch of Egypt has just one start to his name, but following an impressive outing in the Irish Stallions Farm EBF Race at Naas, the two-year-old has already been installed as 5/1 favourite in the ante-post horse racing odds for the Coventry Stakes.
10 2000 Guineas winners, off the track for over 1900 days combined.
Aidan O’Brien – genius! pic.twitter.com/vmhLBdr04R
— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) May 4, 2019
O’Brien is likely to return to Cork racecourse later this year, and he has taken part in some recent trials at the track. The Wexford-born handler gave his unwavering support to the new seven-furlong straight, describing it as “different class”, before lavishing praise upon the rest of the facilities at the track. With the Mallow venue around an hours drive from his highly successful Ballydoyle yard, O’Brien is highly likely to send a large number of runners to the course throughout the summer months. Many of the jockeys have also given the thumbs up to Cork’s recent renovations, and it’s an exciting time for race-going regulars in the region.
The all-conquering trainer will be looking to set more records this summer both at home and abroad. The 49-year-old has another array of talented two-year-olds to choose from, and another successful summer looks likely for one of Ireland’s most decorated handlers.