Phonsie O’Brien, youngest brother of Vincent, has died, aged 86.
O’Brien was the seventh and youngest son of Dan O’Brien in Churchtown, Co Cork. Vincent was the eldest.
Phonsie rode many winners in the 1940s and took out a trainer’s licence in 1956. Based initally at South Lodge in Carrick-on-Suir and later at Thomastown Stables in Cashel, he sent out four consecutive winners of the Galway Plate between 1962 and 1965.
Phonsie is credited as the trainer of 1960 Irish Derby winner Chamour. At that time Chamour’s trainer Vincent was serving an 18-month ban following a positive drugs test on the same horse three months earlier. The suspension was later reduced to 12 months.
In later years Phonsie O’Brien lived at Landscape Stud near Kilsheelan in Co Tipperary, and bred many winners on the flat and over jumps.
The daughter of Scat Daddy was arguably the most impressive winner of the entire meeting at Royal Ascot last month, annihilating her rivals from the front to land the Queen Mary Stakes.
Stable companion Acapulco won the same prize last summer before going on to finish second in the Nunthorpe and like her, Lady Aurelia would receive the best part of two stone from her elders if she did line up on the Knavesmire.
But Ward remains more keen on heading to Deauville on August 21 for the Morny.
He said: “She is doing beautiful and we’re hoping to take her to Keeneland in the next 10 days to work her on the grass.
“They don’t usually open up the turf course at Keeneland for work during the summer, but they’ve done it in the past for horses like Wise Dan and Acapulco went there last year and they’ve been good enough to allow Lady Aurelia to go there as well. I’m very grateful.
“We’ll take her there and she’ll be ready for the Morny after that.”
Discussing the Nunthorpe, the trainer added: “We’ll keep all options open. She’s certainly nominated for the race and we’ll have a look at it nearer the time.
“But I’ve said before, she’s a different type of filly to Acapulco, who is a big bruiser.”
Acapulco, who travelled to Britain for the Royal meeting before being ruled out due to unsuitable ground, is on course to return to York on August 19.
“That’s what we’re aiming at,” said Ward.
“The ground was a little too testing for her (at Ascot), but she should be spot-on for the Nunthorpe.”
Considering the last meeting saw the going turn heavy after thunderstorms, it has dried out remarkably quickly and is currently described as good to firm, good in places. “I’ve just changed the going to good to firm, good in places, it’s 8.0 on the going stick from 7.8,” said Prosser.
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