Jumps Season - At The Races

Joseph O'Brien

    Joseph O’Brien looks set to make a big impact this season training National Hunt horses in his own name. His exciting team is led by Triumph Hurdle hero Ivanovich Gorbatov and features some smart novices including classy Flat recruit Landofhopeandglory.
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Joseph O’Brien has achieved more in racing at the age of 23 that most could dream of achieving in a lifetime, yet the remarkable thing is that he is only just getting started.

As a jockey he rode 30 Group 1 winners including two renewals of the Derby at Epsom before the inevitable day came where his substantial frame made it impractical for him to make the weight required to ride on the Flat.

While he was still just 22 years old when that day arrived, he had already been playing a major role as a trainer under his father Aidan O’Brien’s name on the family farm in Owning, with Joseph being given all the credit for the success of Ivanovich Gorbatov in the JCB Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

Having been granted his training licence in June 2016, O’Brien made the perfect start by saddling four winners on his first day with runners and he hasn’t looked back since. He reached a notable milestone in September when saddling his first Group 1 winner as a trainer by saddling Intricately to win the Moyglare Stud Stakes and that is likely to be the first of many top-level successes under both codes.

Joseph sat down with attheraces.com’s Kevin Blake to discuss his team for the upcoming National Hunt season.

Horse profiles

All The Answers (GB)

The winner of a bumper at Ballinrobe and a maiden hurdle at the Galway Festival.

“The ground was a bit slow for him at Listowel. He ran OK, but he didn’t finish out the race as well as I would have liked. He was back on nicer ground at Galway on Tuesday and won nicely. I suppose he’ll just try and work his way up the handicaps now. He is a good ground horse, so is likely to be given a winter break at some stage. He is a strong traveller that wears a hood, but I don’t see why he shouldn’t stay further. He’ll jump a fence in time too.”

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Aspen Colorado

A two-time bumper winner, he made a winning hurdling debut in a maiden at Listowel in September.

“He won nicely at Listowel, but he was a bit disappointing at Galway. Things could have worked out better for him, but he was definitely disappointing. The mistake he made early on wasn’t a help, but he was never really travelling. We didn’t find any issues with him afterwards. We’ll try to find a novice hurdle for four-year-olds with him in the next few weeks and try to get him back on track. He’s by Galileo out of a Danehill mare, so I don’t think he’ll ever want bottomless ground, but he has won a bumper on soft ground and should be fine on that over hurdles.”

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Cradle Mountain

A 121-rated hurdler, he has won a maiden hurdle at Ballinrobe and a handicap hurdle at Tipperary this season.

“He’s a tough horse that takes his racing. While he does have plenty of his own ideas, he always finds plenty for pressure. He’ll keep going in handicap hurdles and we’ll keep going with him until he tells us he needs a break.”

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Edwulf

  • 8-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Kayf Tara - Valentines Lady (Zaffaran)
  • Trained by: Joseph P O'Brien
  • Last Race: Cheltenham, 14 Mar 2017 16:50
  • Result: PU/18, held up towards rear, headway approaching 4 out, went close 2nd when pecked 2 out, about 5 lengths off winner and looked beaten when awkward last, soon went wrong, lost 2nd and pulled up
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A 130-rated hurdler, he was set to make an impressive winning chasing debut at Navan in December only to fall at the final fence. He switched to hurdling after that, winning a maiden at Naas prior to falling when still in with every chance at the third-last flight in a Grade 2 novice at Thurles.

“He’s a lovely big horse that will go back novice chasing. He looked like he was going to win what was a very good beginners’ chase at Navan last season but then he fell at the last. He went over hurdles after that and won a maiden at Naas. He was running very well in a good novice hurdle at Thurles, but fell at the third-last when still in with a chance. He’s an exciting horse and I’m looking forward to seeing him back over fences.”

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Exactoris

A two-time bumper winner, he won a maiden hurdle at Tipperary in July and ran well in novice company at the Galway Festival.

“He had a little break after Galway and he’s on the way back now. I’d be hoping to have him back at the races this side of Christmas. He should make up into a nice staying novice hurdler and he’ll keep going through the winter.”

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Ivanovich Gorbatov (IRE)

A 152-rated hurdler, he won the JCB Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March prior to finishing behind Apple’s Jade at Aintree and Punchestown.

“He had a good break over the summer and is on his way back. I’ll be looking to get him back to the track at this side of Christmas and he’ll run in all the top races. Like any good juvenile hurdler coming into open company, he probably has a stone or more to find on the best hurdlers, but we’ll give him his chance to do it.”

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Landofhopeandglory

Rated 102 on the Flat for Aidan O’Brien, finishing in the frame in stakes company on multiple occasions, including when a close fourth in the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot.

“He has been gelded and is with me now. The plan is to go juvenile hurdling with him. His schooling over hurdles has gone well. He seems to like it, which is the main thing. I’m looking forward to getting him on the track.”

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Lord Justice

  • 4-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Zoffany - Roselita (Sadler's Wells)
  • Trained by: Joseph P O'Brien
  • Last Race: Leopardstown, 20 Jul 2017 21:00
  • Result: Won/9, chased leader, 4th halfway, improved to 3rd 2f out, progress to 2nd 1 1/2f out, soon ridden, strongly challenged leader under 1f out, led final 100 yards, kept on best
  • View full form

Rated 74 on the Flat, he has won two of his three starts in juvenile hurdles, most recently at Gowran Park in October.

“He always showed ability at home, but never managed to win on the Flat and was disappointing. Thankfully, hurdling has seemed to have woken him up and he’s been very good so far. He’ll run in the juvenile hurdle at Down Royal in a few weeks and he’ll keep going in all those races.”

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Marchese Marconi

A 142-rated hurdler, he has run well without winning in his two starts over fences to date.

“He’s a lovely big horse that has had a break. He’s still a maiden over fences and will go back chasing when he returns which should be before Christmas. He’s a versatile type of horse, but if you gave me a choice for his ideal conditions, I’d go for two-mile three-furlongs and yielding ground.”

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Oathkeeper

  • 7-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Oscar - Lady Lamb (Executive Perk)
  • Trained by: Joseph P O'Brien
  • Last Race: Killarney, 24 Aug 2017 20:00
  • Result: PU/14, chased leaders, mistake 2nd, 9th from 3rd, dropped to 12th and pushed along after 9th where slight mistake, slightly impeded 6 out, pulled up after 4 out
  • View full form

A two-time bumper winner, he won a maiden hurdle at Killarney in July and has acquitted himself well in two starts at a higher level since.

“He’s entered in a three-mile novice hurdle later in the week. He won a bumper over two-and-a-half miles and I don’t see a reason why he shouldn’t stay three miles, but you can never be certain until they go and do it. He seemed to be handling the heavy ground well enough before he fell on his latest start at Listowel, so hopefully he’ll be fine on it through the winter. I’m hopeful that he’ll progress into a nice staying novice hurdler.”

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Plinth

A 137-rated hurdler, he has been a regular competitor in Graded hurdles in recent seasons and made his chasing debut during the summer.

“He’s a good consistent horse. He’ll run away in those conditions races over hurdles. I don’t think he’ll go back over fences until next summer. Two miles is a bit sharp for him at this stage, but he is very versatile to be fair to him.”

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Slowmotion (FR)

A 138-rated hurdler, she won a Grade 2 juvenile hurdle at the Fairyhouse Easter Festival and acquitted herself well in Grade 1 company at the Punchestown Festival.

“She has done very well on her summer break and should be ready to run in a month or so. A decision hasn’t been made whether she stays over hurdles or goes chasing, but she’s a lovely prospect whichever road she goes down.”

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Tigris River

  • 6-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Montjeu - Hula Angel (Woodman)
  • Trained by: Joseph P O'Brien
  • Last Race: Galway, 3 Aug 2017 16:35
  • Result: Won/20, mid-division on inner, closer after 3 out and 4th next, ridden in 3rd before last, under pressure and kept on well run-in to lead close home
  • View full form

A 136-rated hurdler, he won three times last season as well as finishing fifth in the Galway Hurdle in July.

“He had a break after Galway and we’ll campaign him in those valuable handicap hurdles. He ran well enough in the Galway Hurdle to suggest he can compete in those type of races and with a bit of luck he’ll go close in one of them.”

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