Thursday 14 December 2017

O'Brien confirms decision to quit riding and focus on training

Joseph O'Brien will concentrate on his fledgling training career
Joseph O'Brien will concentrate on his fledgling training career
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Joseph O'Brien has confirmed that he will no longer ride on the Flat as he endeavours to concentrate on his fledgling training career.

The 22-year-old is awaiting the scheduling of a Turf Club trainers' course to assume full responsibility for the team of jumpers that he looks after for his father Aidan (pictured right) at the family homestead in Co Kilkenny.

The youngest rider to be crowned champion here aged 19 in 2012 before doubling up in 2013, O'Brien announced in October that he would be focusing his attentions on training in 2016.

At the time, he left the door open to riding on a part-time basis.

"It's hard enough to make a decent job of one thing never mind trying to juggle two things," O'Brien told last night, "so I'll be concentrating on training and won't be riding anymore."

During a short but glittering career that was blighted by weight problems, O'Brien rode 31 Group One winners, a tally that leaves him behind only Mick Kinane and Johnny Murtagh for the current Ballydoyle incumbent. He and his father twice combined to win the Derby with Camelot (2012) and Australia (2014), and in 2013 he broke Kinane's record for the most wins (115) in a domestic season, riding 126 winners.

O'Brien will likely represent his father when the fancied Ivanovich Gorbatov tackles next week's Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, though their Champion Bumper contender Aspen Colorado will not travel.

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