Wednesday 18 September 2019

O'Brien smashes Kinane record as Navan treble makes it 117 and counting

Joseph O'Brien, who broke a 20-year-old record
Joseph O'Brien, who broke a 20-year-old record

Thomas Kelly

Joseph O'Brien has broken a 20-year-old record by landing a treble at Navan to earn his 117th winner of the season and eclipse the previous best set by Mick Kinane.

O'Brien, champion jockey last season with 87 winners, equalled the previous record of 115 which Kinane set in 1993 – the year O'Brien was born – on his father Aidan's Sardinia in the third race on the card.

Sardinia (7/4 favourite) was having just his second start and stepping up in trip by four furlongs, but despite playing up in the preliminaries he made all the running – never looking in any danger in beating smart bumper horse Waaheb by six lengths.

Just half an hour later, the record fell when the well-bred Marvellous swooped late to win the Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Fillies Maiden.

Marvellous (9/2), a daughter of the great Galileo out of a Cherry Hinton winner, looked to have plenty to do entering the final furlong as I'm Yours went for home but, as he has done on quite a few occasions this season, the jockey snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in the final few strides.

Later on, the in-form O'Brien teamed up with Denis Cullen to win on Dysios (13/2 favourite) in the first division of the Meath Handicap.

Speaking afterwards, the modest six-foot youngster, who struggles to ride below 9st, reflected: "I'm not sure if it's any more difficult for me than any of the other lads trying to do weight, but I have been very lucky to have some really nice horses to ride.

"The horses have been running very well all year and I've had plenty of support from the owners in Ballydoyle as well as from all the other trainers who have supported me.

"At the start of the season I was hoping to ride 100 winners and I am delighted to break the record."

His father said: "I'm delighted for Joseph and I must give a big thank you to all the owners who have supported him."

"Everyone knows it's not easy for him to do 9st and it's a great achievement to break the record," said O'Brien Snr.

"Mick rode an incredible amount of Group Ones for us. What can you say about Mick? He has done it all. It's hard to believe it was 20 years ago when Mick set the record.

"Joseph was only born that year which makes me feel very old. I think he might have more of his riding ability from his dam's side than sire!"

Kinane was full of praise for O'Brien (20), and philosophical about his record being taken away from him.

"Records are there to be broken," he said. "I'm delighted for Joseph, he's one of a very good crop of young riders in Ireland at the moment. It's a great achievement for him and more so because of his weight problems. Ballydoyle are very powerful at the moment but he still has to do the job."

Paddy Power have paid out on O'Brien becoming champion this year and offer 25/1 that he eventually breaks Charlie Swan's record of 147 winners in a season over jumps, if he ever switches codes.

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