Sport Horse Racing

Monday 19 March 2018

Joseph O'Brien could saddle his first runner as a trainer in a point-to-point this weekend

Joseph O'Brien looks to be following his father Aidan into the training ranks
Joseph O'Brien looks to be following his father Aidan into the training ranks

Joseph O'Brien could have his first runner as a registered handler at the Galway Blazers point-to-point meeting at Loughrea on Sunday.

The dual Irish champion jockey does not yet have an official training licence to saddle runners under Rules, but the Irish Turf Club confirmed he has become a registered handler, allowing him to have runners in his name in point-to-points.

Minella For Me, an unraced five-year-old son of King's Theatre, appeared among the entries for the Pier Head Bar & Restaurant 5yo Geldings Maiden at Loughrea, in County Galway, with O'Brien down as the handler and John Nallen as the owner.

Nallen, also a permit holder, had a number of good horses trained by O'Brien's father, Aidan, in the early to mid-1990s, including Hotel Minella, Minella Gold and Minella Lad, who were all Graded-race winners.

Nallen has trained a small string of horses from Piltown, in County Kilkenny - a yard owned by the O'Brien family - for the last six years.

He said: "Basically, the operation isn't changing. I'm just going from being a permit holder to being an owner and the horses will run in Joseph's name.

"There's around 10 point-to-pointers to run during the autumn and spring and they're all horses that will hopefully be sold at some stage.

"Minella For Me is down to run this weekend, but we're having summer weather here at the moment and we wouldn't want to run him on real good ground."

William Hill expect Joseph O'Brien to take out a full National Hunt licence in the not too distant future.

He is just 1-10 to train a winner for leading owner JP McManus in 2016, while he is an 8-1 shot to train a Cheltenham Festival winner by the end of the 2017 meeting.

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