O’Brien (20), champion-jockey for the first time last year, equalled Kinane’s 1993 total of 115 winners when Sardinia, trained by his father Aidan, made all to land the October Maiden emphatically from Waaheb.
He broke the record on the appropriately named Marvellous, which made a successful debut in the Irish Stallion Farms 2-Y-0 Fillies Maiden, and, for good measure, rounded off a memorable day when partnering the Denis Cullen-trained Dysios to victory in the first division of the Meath Handicap.
O’Brien has come a long way in a short time. Having chased the apprentice championship in 2010, he won that title outright a year later before being crowned champion-jockey last year. And, now, he is set to post a remarkable new record, with 117 winners already in the bag.
A typically modest Joseph commented, after his record-breaking win on Marvellous: “I’m very lucky to be riding some very nice horses. And a big thanks goes to all the owners and trainers who have supported me.”
Similarly, Aidan said: “I’m delighted for Joseph - it isn’t easy form him, riding at a minimum of nine stone. But he’s doing well and we’re very lucky to be in the position we’re in. A big thank you to everyone involved.”
Third on his debut in Roscommon and wearing blinkers for the first time, 7/4 favourite Sardinia, a half-brother to the classy Alexandrova, made every yard of the running to beat Waaheb by six lengths in the October Maiden, prompting his trainer to explain: “He was very green and the track was too sharp for him in Roscommon. He’s still a baby but should develop into a solid, staying horse. He’s in the Horses-in-Training Sales, but I’m not sure what the plan is with him.”
Marvellous, a Galileo filly out of a sister to Giant’s Causeway, got the better of well-regarded fellow debutante I’m Yours by a half-length in the Irish Stallion farms 2-Y-0 Fillies Maiden.
And her trainer stated: “I thought she was too green to win first time, but she kept coming forward and came up the hill well. She looks a nice prospect.”
Belisarius, unlucky on his debut in Gowran Park, started a red-hot 4/9 favourite to provide the O’Briens with further success in the Irish Stallion farms 2-Y-0 Maiden but, scrubbed along early in the straight, he never looked likely to deliver, staying on late to get within a length of the John Oxx-trained newcomer Ebasani, an Aga Khan-owned Manduro colt, ridden by Declan McDonogh.
The winning trainer, who is at the Sales in Newmarket, was represented by assistant Jim O’Neill, who said: “He’s been going nicely at home but wasn’t fully wound-up. He’s apromising horse, with a good attitude, a real three-year-old. And Declan said he’d be much happier on better ground. He’s one for next year.”
Like Aidan O'Brien, Andy Oliver saddled a double, initiated when four-year-old Shipyard, ridden by Gary Carroll, got up on the line to pip Great Minds by a nose in the five-furlong Kells Maiden.
And Oliver commented: “He’s a big, improving horse that needs a galloping track and everything worked out well,” after Chris Hayes partnered Listowel winner Stony Grey to a gutsy win over favourite Zip Wire in the second division of the Meath Handicap.
“Chris gave him a great ride and, hopefully, there’s more to come from him,” added Oliver.
On a day which yielded three winners and two seconds, Joseph O’Brien was seen at his strongest, in defeat, on board runner-up Deep Speed, in the concluding maiden. But his mount was unable to get on terms with the Jim Bolger-trained Tonabrocky, which made most of the running under an enterprising ride by Kevin Manning, who admitted: “He was due one and stuck at it well.”