O'Brien primed to go it alone in his new career as trainer
A big weekend for Aidan O'Brien, who is preparing a concerted assault on three Classics and four Group Ones, will take on even more significance as it marks the end of a fruitful joint enterprise with his son Joseph.
On Monday, the 23-year-old former champion Flat jockey is expected to have his first runners in his own name.
O'Brien Jnr (right) has been undergoing formal tuition at the Turf Club's trainers' course at the Racing Academy and Centre of Education (RACE) in recent weeks, and Cliff Noone, a spokesperson for the regulator, has confirmed that he will be granted his licence on Friday.
That will see the champion Flat trainer officially deprived of around 80 horses that currently fall under his remit, as his ambitious son is poised to gain autonomy at the yard situated on the family homestead on Carriganog Hill in Owning, Co Kilkenny.
"He will come up to the licensing committee on Friday. They will interview him and I imagine they will sanction his licence," Noone said of the fledgling handler's application.
"They have already inspected his premises and they were found to be in perfect shape. The final step is him getting his licence and I would think that would be Friday afternoon. Obviously, he can't declare horses on Friday, but he would have it so that he could declare horses on Sunday for Monday. I'm 100pc sure his licence will be sanctioned on Friday afternoon. It's just a case of dotting the I's and crossing the T's."
Entries for Monday's Bank Holiday fixtures at Listowel and Gowran Park close at noon today.
O'Brien, credited with the supervision of the firm's Triumph Hurdle winner Ivanovich Gorbatov at Cheltenham in March, has indicated that his string will be divided more or less equally between Flat and jumps, so he could have runners at either fixture.
It would be especially poignant were he to saddle his first winner at the Listowel meeting. In 1993, when he was a mere 15 days old, it was at the corresponding fixture that his father enjoyed the same landmark with Wandering Thoughts.
Unfortunately, the loss of Tralee racecourse in 2008 means that history cannot be precisely replicated. The Bank Holiday meeting was transferred to Listowel on Tralee's closure, and Monday's card is now an all-jumps affair, whereas Wandering Thoughts triumphed in a seven-furlong handicap on a mixed spread under Pat Gilson.
O'Brien Snr, who drew a blank in the three Group Ones on Irish Guineas weekend for a first time in nine years, will strive to add to his 251 top-level wins when Minding spearheads up to five Ballydoyle representatives in Friday's Investec Oaks at Epsom.
The Irish 1,000 Guineas runner-up will be followed on Saturday by the Tattersalls Gold Cup second, as Found is also due to make a quick reappearance in the Coronation Cup.
US Army Ranger is one of seven Ballydoyle horses in the Derby. The narrow Chester Vase winner has also been left in the French equivalent on Sunday, along with O'Brien's six other Epsom entrants, plus Black Sea, A Year To Remember and General Macarthur.
The 10-furlong affair is a €1.5m Classic that O'Brien has yet to plunder.
Conditions at Chantilly are reported to be testing, and the going at Epsom has also eased to good to soft, soft in places following 20mm of rainfall.