Tipperary trainer Aidan O'Brien closes in on world Group 1 winners record

Tipperary trainer Aidan O'Brien closes in world Group 1 winners record

Aidan O'Brien is close to world Group 1 winners record.

Balydoyle trainer Aidan O’Brien goes into this weekend’s racing action on 22 Group/Grade 1 winners for the calendar year - three short of the world record set by American trainer Bobby Frankel in 2003.

Last weekend, O’Brien won four Group 1 races, two in Britain and two in France.

O’Brien will not be short of opportunities to better the 14-year-old record before now and the end of the year and he will be doubly represented in the Group 1 Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday.

The champion trainer has declared both his dual Group 1 winner Roly Poly and Alluringly for the race he previously won with Halfway To Heaven, ridden by Seamie Heffernan, in 2008 and with Alice Springs, the mount of Ryan Moore, 12 months ago.

It’s the start of a busy few weeks of top level action in Europe, America, Australia and Hong Kong, with enough opportunities for O’Brien to finally break a record he has come so close to over the past few years. Bookmakers make him a long odds-on chance to do so.

Over the next four weeks there are a dozen Group 1s in Europe, two in Canada, a full range of possibilities (listed below) at the Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar, three Grade 1 events in play during the spring festival at Flemington’s Melbourne Cup meeting and four additional chances in Hong Kong in December.


Oct 7 Newmarket Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes

Oct 13 Newmarket Fillies Mile

Oct 14 Newmarket Dubai Dewhurst

Oct 15 Woodbine Pattison Canadian International

Oct 15 Woodbine EP Taylor Stakes

Oct 21 Caulfield Caulfield Cup

Oct 21 Ascot Qipco Champion Stakes

Oct 21 Ascot Qipco British Champions Fillies and Mares

Oct 21 Ascot Queen Elizabeth II Stakes

Oct 21 Ascot Qipco British Champions Sprint

Oct 22 Saint-Cloud Prix Royal-Oak

Oct 28 Moonee Valley WS Cox Plate

Oct 28 Doncaster Racing Post Trophy

Oct 29 Saint-Cloud Criterium De Saint Cloud

Oct 29 Saint-Cloud Criterium International

Oct 29 Rome Premio Lydia Tesio

Nov 1 Munich Grosser Preis Von Bayern

Nov 3 Del Mar Breeders' Cup Distaff

Nov 3 Del Mar Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf

Nov 3 Del Mar Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile

Nov 3 Del Mar Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf

Nov 4 Del Mar Breeders' Cup Classic

Nov 4 Del Mar Breeders' Cup Turf

Nov 4 Del Mar Breeders' Cup Juvenile

Nov 4 Del Mar Breeders' Cup Mile

Nov 4 Del Mar Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies

Nov 4 Del Mar Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf

Nov 4 Del Mar Breeders' Cup Sprint

Nov 4 Del Mar Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint

Nov 4 Del Mar Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint

Nov 7 Flemington Melbourne Cup

Nov 25 Del Mar Hollywood Derby

Nov 26 Del Mar Matriarch Stakes

Dec 10 Sha Tin Longines Hong Kong Cup

Dec 10 Sha Tin Longines Hong Kong Mile

Dec 10 Sha Tin Longines Hong Kong Sprint

Dec 10 Sha Tin Longines Hong Kong Vase


*There are additional Grade 1 races in Australia and US not listed here given the historical non-participation of Ballydoyle-trained runners





Aidan O’Brien trains 23 Grade/Group 1 winners worldwide in 2001. (He also won the Irish Champion Hurdle with Istabraq, giving him a ‘mixed’ total of 24 that year.)



O’Brien trains 22 winners at the top level on the Flat including all five Irish Classics and the Ascot Gold Cup with Yeats.



Another incredible year for Aidan O'Brien with 20 Group/Grade 1 victories highlighted by the end of season success for St Nicholas Abbey in the Grade 1 Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Turf at Churchill Downs.



Last year, Aidan had 22 Group/Grade 1 winners, the highlight being Found leading home a 1-2-3 in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly, the first time any trainer had achieved that feat. O’Brien was also was credited with Ivanovich Gorbatov’s Triumph Hurdle win which gave him a total top level tally of 23.




Rhododendron (Oct 1, Chantilly, Prix de l’Opera Longines)

Happily (Oct 1, Chantilly, Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere)

U S Navy Flag (Sep 30, Newmarket, Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes)

Clemmie (Sep 30, Newmarket, Juddmonte Cheveley Park)

Capri (Sep 16, Doncaster, William Hill St Leger)

Order Of St George (Sep 10, Curragh, Comer Group International Irish St Leger)

Happily (Sep 10, Curragh, Moyglare Stud Stakes)

Hydrangea (Sep 9, Leopardstown, Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes)

Sioux Nation (Aug 13, Curragh, Keeneland Phoenix Stakes)

Winter (Aug 3, Goodwood, Qatar Nassau Stakes)

Roly Poly (July 30, Chantilly, Prix Rothchild)

Roly Poly (July 14, Newmarket, Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes)

Capri (July 1, Curragh, Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby)

Winter (Jun 23, Royal Ascot, Coronation Stakes)

Caravaggio (Jun 23, Royal Ascot, Commonwealth Stakes)

Highland Reel (Jun 21, Royal Ascot, Prince Of Wales’s Stakes)

Wings Of Eagles (Jun 3, Epsom, Investec Derby)

Highland Reel (Jun 2, Epsom, Investec Coronation Cup)

Winter (May 28, Curragh, Tattersalls Irish 1000 Guineas)

Churchill (May 27, Curragh, Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas)

Winter (May 7, Newmarket, Qipco 1000 Guineas)

Churchill (May 6, Newmarket, Qipco 2000 Guineas)




Aidan O'Brien has been Irish Champion Flat trainer in terms of prizemoney won in every season since 1999.


He began his career with Curragh trainer PJ Finn and was later assistant trainer to both Jim Bolger and Annemarie Crowley who he was later to marry. Aidan took out his trainer's licence in 1993 and his first winner was Wandering Thoughts at Tralee in June of that year.


In the early stages of his career, he broke all manner of records in National Hunt racing in terms of winners trained and also became the first trainer to saddle a 1-2-3 in the 1995 Galway Plate when Life Of A Lord defeated Kelly's Pearl and Loshian. Life Of A Lord went on win the Kerry National at Listowel the following September while he also proved successful in the Whitbread Gold Cup at Sandown the following April, before going back to Galway to claim a second consecutive victory in the Galway Plate.


His remarkable success continued when he moved to Ballydoyle in 1996 and he quickly established himself as one of the leading trainers in the world. O'Brien continues to enjoy tremendous success at home and abroad, winning the biggest races on a continuous basis. He became the first trainer to win the Epsom Derby in three consecutive years when Australia won in 2014, following on from Ruler Of The World and Camelot. Camelot's success was all the more remarkable as it was the first father/son (Joseph), trainer/jockey partnership to win a British classic.


The pair repeated the feat with Australia in the same race in 2014 and they also landed the Doncaster St Leger with Leading Light in 2013. At Royal Ascot in 2015, O'Brien saddled eight winners over the five days. Minding gave O'Brien his 250th Group/Grade 1 winner on the Flat when taking the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket in May, 2016. O'Brien saddled his 50th winner at Royal Ascot when Even Song won the Ribblesdale Stakes on Thursday, June 17th, 2016.


In October of the same year, he recorded a magnificent 1-2-3 in the €5m Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly when the Ryan Moore-ridden Found led home Highland Reel and Order Of St George. All three are by leading sire Galileo.


Aidan recorded his 70th European Classic success when Churchill, ridden by Ryan Moore, landed the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh on Saturday, May 27th, 2017. The same colt had won the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket three weeks earlier. Aidan enjoyed his 300th Group 1/Grade 1 winner (Flat and National Hunt combined) when Highland Reel (Ryan Moore) took the Prince Of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 21st, 2017.