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O'Brien hoping for Easter Flat return at Cork


Joseph O'Brien

Joseph O'Brien


Joseph O'Brien

Joseph O'Brien has pledged to take his first rides of the Flat season at Cork this weekend.

O'Brien eschewed the Curragh last Sunday in favour of making his hurdle debut aboard Egyptian Warrior for his father Aidan at Limerick, after which he stated his intention to ride at Dundalk on Wednesday.

However, the 21-year-old, whose struggle with his weight has intensified each year, sat out the all-weather meeting, with his younger brother Donnacha instead filling the role of deputy to Ryan Moore.

"I was going to ride on Wednesday, but my brother jocked me off with a couple of hours to go," O'Brien joked in an interview on racingfm.com.

"I'd say I'll be back at either Cork on Saturday or Monday. I think I have two for Mick Easterby on Monday. I'm not 100pc sure about Saturday yet."

Of his battle to get his weight down, he added: "I think I'm winning at the minute. It's not too bad the last couple of days. Hopefully I'll be back in action soon enough. It's going to be a long year ahead."

O'Brien (right) has previously hinted that a full-time switch to jumping would be unlikely, a sentiment he reiterated here: "I don't see myself having a proper crack at the jumps any time soon. I'm happy enough just to sit on a couple of them for the moment.

"I always said that I'd have a couple of rides over jumps. Whenever you have a ride you want it to win, whether it's over hurdles or on the Flat. "

When asked if he could see himself riding at the Cheltenham Festival, he replied: "I suppose for anyone that ever rides over jumps the dream is to end up riding in Cheltenham. That's the pinnacle, but I'd say that's a long way down the road yet."

Meanwhile, Tracey Collins' Captain Joy will tackle today's Winter Derby under Pat Smullen at Lingfield, while Chris Hayes rides Matthew Smith's Shalaman in the subsequent handicap.

At Musselburgh, Gordon Elliott's Ladbroke Hurdle hero Bayan contests a mile-and-six-furlong handicap under Paul Hanagan.

Irish Independent