Donnacha O’Brien calls time on riding career

Donnacha O’Brien calls time on riding career
Magical and Donnacha O'Brien with trainer Aidan O'Brien after a win at Ascot last month. Photo Healy Racing

Multiple Group One-winning jockey Donnacha O’Brien has announced his retirement from the saddle to embark on a training career.

The 21-year-old was crowned champion jockey in Ireland this year, defending the title he first secured 12 months ago, and he bows out with 10 top-level wins to his name.

O’Brien’s final Group One success came aboard Magical in the Champion Stakes at Ascot in October.

In a statement on Twitter, he said: “After thinking about things for a while, I have decided to concentrate on training next year.

“Riding has been very good to me and I owe everything to the people around me.

“I want to give special thanks to the Magnier, Smith and Tabor families, along with my own family, for all their support.

“I look forward to training a small group of horses next year and will hopefully build from there.”

O’Brien rode his first Group One winner aboard Intricately, trained by his brother Joseph, in the 2016 Moyglare Stud Stakes and he secured three Classic wins last year.

He partnered Saxon Warrior to win the 2000 Guineas for his father Aidan, before the pair again struck gold with Forever Together in the Investec Oaks at Epsom in June.

The rider then steered Latrobe to lift the Irish Derby for his brother later that month, while Magna Grecia gave O’Brien what was to be his final Classic success in this year’s 2000 Guineas back in May.

O’Brien rode his first winner aboard Quartz for his father at Dundalk in September 2014 when he was just 16, graduating to be champion apprentice in 2016 and riding out his claim in April 2017.

He chalked up his first century of winners last year in claiming the riders’ title, and he finished this season on 111 to match Joseph in winning back-to-back championships.

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