Aidan O’Brien – Cheltenham Festival Trainer
Like many other top trainers Aidan O’Brien started his career in horse racing as a jockey. He excelled as an amateur rider and won Ireland’s Champion amateur jockey title in the 1993/1994 season. Rather than turn professional Aidan O’Brien made the decision to get his trainer’s license, earning the right to train at the end of 1993.
Many trainers can wait up to a decade before their patience in the training paddock realises success on the racetrack. However in Aidan O’Brien’s case success came rapidly and at the highest level. Starting in flat racing, O’Brien won two races on his very first day at the races, and by the end of his second season had broken the record for wins in a year.
Aidan O’Brien’s first victory at the Cheltenham Festival came in 1996 when Urbande won the Novices’ Hurdle. In the 1997 Aidan O’Brien turned his attention to flat racing when he replaced the legendary Vincent O’Brien at the Ballydoyle Stables. With powerful financial backers and first-rate infrastructure O’Brien was able to win three of the greatest Irish flat races in the 1000 Guineas, 2000 Guineas and the Irish Derby.
Having scaled the heights of Irish flat racing, Aidan O’Brien, Cheltenham Festival trainer, turned his attention back to National Hunt racing . He became closely involved in the development of the fragile but brilliant Istabraq, and in March of 1998 Istabraq earned his Cheltenham Festival trainer one of the festival’s biggest prizes when he won the Champion Hurdle.
In 1999 Istabraq made it two in a row, winning another Champion Hurdle title at Cheltenham. The horse then equalled the win record for the Champion Hurdle in 2000, winning his third consecutive Champion Hurdle. In 2001 Aidan O’Brien won the British Champion Trainer title as he continued to dominate flat racing whilst also bringing home a win from the 2001 King George VI Chase.
Backed by the Coolmore Stud, Aidan O’Brien, Cheltenham Festival trainer, has gone from strength to strength in the last five years. The young trainer has won major races in France, Canada, Ireland, England, Italy and the United States. With his natural talent, the pick of the world’s best yearlings and the massive financial resources at his disposal it is only a matter of time before he adds one of National Hunt racing’s biggest prizes to his packed trophy cabinet.