In horse racing, that’s the Melbourne Cup. It has been dubbed ‘the race that stops the nation’, which says it all. Usually, it attracts around 100,000 people at the track, with many, many more tuning in to see who can land the big prize and win the prestigious race.
This year, it was Twilight Payment. The beauty of the Melbourne Cup is that it has a very open field, and that was evident once again. The Irish horse won the race at a 25/1 price, although that wasn’t the biggest story of the victory. Instead, that went to trainer Joseph O’Brien, who oversaw his second victory in the iconic race having won with Rekindling just three years before.
The name O’Brien is well-known in horse racing circles, with Joseph’s father Aiden regarded as one of the finest trainers around. He has developed that reputation due to an incredible number of wins across the world over the past 20 years or so.
Such is his influence in the game that when you check the horse racing odds for all the big upcoming races, you’ll usually find a contender that will be trained by him. And, it appears he has passed his passion and knowledge as a trainer onto his son.
Joseph initially started out as a jockey, and he showed that he was more than capable of riding the top quality horses that his father’s stable provided. One of his finest achievements came in 2014, as he guided Leading Light to a Gold Cup win in the Ascot Gold Cup.
In recent years though, O’Brien’s attention has switched. He is no longer the man to experience the buzz of riding these horse to win; instead, his focus is on training and producing winners.
It turns out, he’s pretty good at that too.
As mentioned, the Melbourne Cup victory in November was the second time O’Brien has trained a winner in the big race. To highlight the scale of that achievement, only three British and Irish trainers have won this race in its history, with Dermot Weld the only other person to do it twice.
So, it’s a course that will have a lot of fond memories for O’Brien, and even now you can be sure he is earmarking who will be his leading contender for the race in 2021.
While we will have to wait some time for that race to come around, you can be sure that O’Brien will continue his ascendency as a trainer. Admittedly, he still has a long way to go before he can be mentioned in the same breath as his dad in this department, but the ability is there.