Aidan O’Brien a real ladies’ man

Aidan O’Brien is some man with the ladies!
Aidan O’Brien a real ladies’ man

Last week, Sunday and Monday, saw him work wonders with four fillies and the sky really is the limit for them all.

Pride of place has to go to Minding, who led home an O’Brien 1-2-3 in Sunday’s 1000 Guineas at Newmarket.

Sixteen faced the starter and Minding, even if her rock solid form spoke for itself, looked a very tight price at around 5-4 and then 11-10.

She was, after all, making her seasonal debut and, no matter how impressive her homework, the possibility was always there she hadn’t trained on.

Essentially, Minding was backed as if defeat was out of the question and you would have to think at least one or two high rollers associated with Ballydoyle came out to play.

In a contest as competitive as this classic was, at least on paper, the fact that Minding went off at such cramped odds told us a massive amount of money had been wagered on her.

Those who got involved knew precisely what they were doing. Minding didn’t just win, she absolutely destroyed the field.

Described on Racing UK by one of the contributors as “a monster’’, there was simply no arguing with that.

The fact O’Brien also saddled the second and third, Ballydoyle and Alice Springs respectively, was almost mind boggling, all of his heroines being by the great Galileo.

Then at the Curragh on Monday, O’ Brien turned his attentions to another of the female persuasion in the shape of the four-year-old Found in the Group 3 Mooresbridge Stakes.

Now the market here revealed that Found, unlike Minding, was far from regarded as bombproof, especially on a soft surface, and she was most uneasy.

Found was returned a generous 11-8 and available at over 6-4 on the exchanges. But this daughter of - you’ve guessed it - Galileo defied the apparent lack of confidence with a smooth success.

That doesn’t half augur well for a lucrative couple of months to come. Last season Found was aggressively campaigned and stood up to the demands in fine style.

She ran eight times, ending with a career-best defeat of Epsom Derby winner, Golden Horn, in the Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland in America.

That told us what a tough lady she is, because Found hardly missed a beat throughout her three-year-old career.

She was second to Fascinating Rock in the Champion Stakes at Ascot and was also runner up in the Irish 1000 Guineas at the Curragh, the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown and the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot. On top of that, she contested the Prix de L’arc de Triomphe (finished ninth) at Longchamp.

Monday at the Curragh indicated that the serious questions asked of her last year have done no harm and she is just a top class racehorse.

The Newmarket success of Minding, of course, was the 250th Group 1 won by O’Brien and isn’t that quite extraordinary for a trainer who has only been in Ballydoyle for 20 years (since 1996).

Aidan will celebrate his 47th birthday on October 16 and, terrifyingly for the opposition, it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that the best is yet to come.

When John Magnier installed O’Brien at Ballydoyle as a 26-year-old it was a bold move and even he could not have envisaged what was to unfold.

O’Brien is a phenomenon, a genuine genius. He continues to deflect as much credit and attention as he can away from himself and always mentions that it is a team effort between so many at Coolmore and Ballydoyle.

And, obviously, there is huge merit in his repeated utterings. That said, though, there is no escaping the fact he is very much the fulcrum around which so much else turns.

Magnier will be aware that he may have little trouble finding another Moore, Joseph O’Brien, Murtagh, Fallon, Spencer, Kinane or Roche. He might even find another Galileo.

But Aidan O’Brien is virtually irreplaceable and the chances of finding another are, at best, surely rather remote.

PUNCHESTOWN was a complete success, with an overall attendance over the five days of 114,438 totally satisfactory. It is hard to get people to go racing in Ireland on a Saturday and last Saturday’s crowd at Punchestown of 30,035 was amazing, although, seemingly, that included many thousands of freebies.

What can you say about Willie Mullins, who changed the habits of a lifetime this season because of his challenge for the British trainers’ championship.

He never had a prayer of getting near last year’s total at Punchesatown, winning 16 races and ten Grade 1’s. This time around he had no Faugheen, Arctic Fire or Annie Power and Un De Sceaux was sent to Sandown to race on an unsuitably quick surface.

Then two of Mullins’ Punchestown bankers, Vautour and Yorkhil, were both well beaten and yet he was able to emerge from the meeting with reputation enhanced.

He won 12 races and seven of them were at Grade 1 level. He also saddled six seconds and the manner in which his bumper horses performed hinted that there will certainly be no changing of the guard next season.

FORMER Kildare footballer, Willie McCreery, is a trainer going places and holding his own against some powerful outfits.

He seems to place his horses rather cleverly, the three-year-old Dolce Strega being a case in point at the Curragh on Monday.

A useful juvenile, McCreery started her off in a modest contest at Dundalk last month, which left the filly spot on for the Curragh Group 3.

Superbly handled by the talented Billy Lee, Dolce Strega got up close home to win by a neck. Anyway, the real beauty about finding a McCreery winner is that you will often get fair odds to your money.

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