Joseph O’Brien set on returning to Flat

Joseph O’Brien has every intention of returning to action on the Flat this season after electing to miss the opening day of the Irish season at the Curragh tomorrow to ride over hurdles at Limerick.

Joseph O’Brien set on returning to Flat

The 21-year-old has twice been crowned champion jockey on the level but the surprise development this weekend means he will bypass the first card of the new campaign in favour of riding Egyptian Warrior in the Family Fun Day Rated Novice Hurdle.

O’Brien was said by his father Aidan to be a “little heavy” for Flat duties, but is due to be at the Curragh after racing to partner some of the illustrious Ballydoyle string in now-traditional post-race gallops.

Ryan Moore, who regularly rides for Ballydoyle when O’Brien is unavailable, will be in action for the stable at the Curragh after returning from the World Cup meeting in Dubai.

Aidan O’Brien confirmed his son’s plans to return to the Flat in due course.

In a statement O’Brien said: “Joseph is a little heavy at the moment but plans to be back riding on the Flat shortly.

“He has his first ride over hurdles on Egyptian Warrior at Limerick on Sunday after which he will travel to the Curragh to ride work after racing.

“Ryan (Moore) will ride all of our first-string horses at the Curragh on Sunday.”

Egyptian Warrior is trained by O’Brien’s father for owner JP McManus and has won two of his four outings over obstacles.

“Joseph told me earlier in the week he was going to ride at the weekend so we’re looking forward to it,” said Frank Berry, McManus’ racing manager.

“He’s had a lot of experience at eventing and everything like that. It will come naturally to him and we wish him the best of luck.

“He has loads of experience and has been riding over jumps since he was a child. It will come easy to him.”

Aidan Coleman has picked up the ride aboard leading Crabbie’s Grand National contender The Druids Nephew.

The eight-year-old, as short as 12-1 to win the Aintree showpiece on April 11, was left without a jockey after Barry Geraghty suffered a hairline fracture to his left tibia following a fall aboard Sailors Warn at Downpatrick.

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