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Lesser lights making most of opportunities

Aidan O'Brien may have trained a first century of winners in over a decade and his running total of 13 Group Ones beats his 2009 haul by one, but this was a year when a number of fringe trainers stole the headlines.

While Sheikh Mohammed's return would hardly have been expected to benefit anyone but the old guard, his decision to add three new names to his roster was typical of the prescience for which he is renowned.

David Marnane and Mick Halford (pictured) were two of the beneficiaries and both men enjoyed wonderful seasons, Halford securing a debut Group One courtesy of the Sheikh's Casamento last weekend.

Eddie Lynam also tasted success at the highest level when Sole Power provided the shock of the season to land the Nunthorpe at 100/1, while an honourable mention must go to John Murphy. Stuck with a bunch of horses that he couldn't sell, the Cork handler sent out winners all over the place.

Irish Independent