Aidan O'Brien Sets New Horse Racing World Record for Group 1 Winners

aidan o'brien ryan moore frankel world record horse racing

Hydrangea & Ryan Moore win The Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes (Group 1) Ascot for Aidan O'Brien, to equal the world record set. Pic: & Patrick McCann

Aidan O’Brien has set a new world record for the number of Group and Grade 1 winners trained on the Flat in a calendar year.

Ireland’s champion trainer won his 26th Group 1 in 2017 when Saxon Warrior landed the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster, finally beating the record set by the late American trainer Bobby Frankel in 2003.

Having set a new standard of 26 Group and Grade 1 victories, Aidan O’Brien now heads into the autumn and winter with many more opportunities to further add to his remarkable top-level tally. Indeed tomorrow (Sunday) at the French racecourse, Saint-Cloud, he is responsible for four of the seven runners in the Group 1 Criterium De Saint-Cloud and has one runner in the Criterium International.

Saxon Warrior – (Oct 28, Doncaster, Racing Post Trophy)
Hydrangea - (Oct 21, Ascot, Qipco British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes)
U S Navy Flag – (Oct 14, Newmarket, Darley Dewhurst Stakes)
Roly Poly – (Oct 7, Newmarket, Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes)
Rhododendron (Oct 1, Chantilly, Prix de l’Opera Longines)
Happily (Oct 1, Chantilly, Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere)
U S Navy Flag (Sep 30, Newmarket, Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes)
Clemmie (Sep 30, Newmarket, Juddmonte Cheveley Park)
Capri (Sep 16, Doncaster, William Hill St Leger)
Order Of St George (Sep 10, Curragh, Comer Group International Irish St Leger)
Happily (Sep 10, Curragh, Moyglare Stud Stakes)
Hydrangea (Sep 9, Leopardstown, Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes)
Sioux Nation (Aug 13, Curragh, Keeneland Phoenix Stakes)
Winter (Aug 3, Goodwood, Qatar Nassau Stakes)
Roly Poly (July 30, Chantilly, Prix Rothchild)
Roly Poly (July 14, Newmarket, Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes)
Capri (July 1, Curragh, Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby)
Winter (Jun 23, Royal Ascot, Coronation Stakes)
Caravaggio (Jun 23, Royal Ascot, Commonwealth Stakes)
Highland Reel (Jun 21, Royal Ascot, Prince Of Wales’s Stakes)
Wings Of Eagles (Jun 3, Epsom, Investec Derby)
Highland Reel (Jun 2, Epsom, Investec Coronation Cup)
Winter (May 28, Curragh, Tattersalls Irish 1000 Guineas)
Churchill (May 27, Curragh, Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas)
Winter (May 7, Newmarket, Qipco 1000 Guineas)
Churchill (May 6, Newmarket, Qipco 2000 Guineas)

O’Brien’s season got off to the perfect start with Churchill and Winter completing Newmarket and Curragh Guineas doubles.

At Epsom Highland Reel won the Coronation Cup while Wings Of Eagles was the first leg of a Ballydoyle Derby double, with Capri winning out in a thrilling finish to the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh.

Royal Ascot saw a trio of Group 1 wins including Winter in the Coronation Stakes, and that filly made it four wins at the top level by July when landing the Qatar Nassua Stakes at Goodwood.

Another brilliant filly, Roly Poly, more than contributed her fair share, landing three Group 1s in remarkably game fashion beginning with the Falmouth Stakes in July, then the Prix Rothchild in Chantilly before returning to Newmarket in October to grittily take the Sun Chariot Stakes.

Winning 26 Group 1s in one season requires an exceptional team and O’Brien had winners across all the categories – two-year-olds, three-year-olds, older horses, colts and fillies. One of those fillies, Happily, won two Group 1s, including when beating the colts at Chantilly on Arc day in Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere.

By then the world record looked more than possible and when U S Navy Flag led home an incredible O’Brien 1-2-3-4 in the Darley Dewhurst at Newmarket and made it 24 top level winners for the season, it was only a matter of time, with strong Ballydoyle chances in Group 1s all over the world, that O’Brien would make history.

Hydrangea took the Qipco British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes at Ascot, helping Aidan O’Brien equal the world record, and then a new world record was set when Saxon Warrior won the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster, making it 26 Group and Grade 1 winners trained on the Flat in a calendar year

Now the joint-holder of the world record for the number of Group and Grade 1 winners trained in one year, Aidan O'Brien has been Irish Champion Flat trainer in terms of prizemoney won in every season since 1999.

He began his career with Curragh trainer PJ Finn and was later assistant trainer to both Jim Bolger and Annemarie Crowley who he was later to marry. Aidan took out his trainer's licence in 1993 and his first winner was Wandering Thoughts at Tralee in June of that year.

In the early stages of his career, he broke all manner of records in National Hunt racing in terms of winners trained and also became the first trainer to saddle a 1-2-3 in the 1995 Galway Plate when Life Of A Lord defeated Kelly's Pearl and Loshian. Life Of A Lord went on win the Kerry National at Listowel the following September while he also proved successful in the Whitbread Gold Cup at Sandown the following April, before going back to Galway to claim a second consecutive victory in the Galway Plate.

His remarkable success continued when he moved to Ballydoyle in 1996 and he quickly established himself as one of the leading trainers in the world. O'Brien continues to enjoy tremendous success at home and abroad, winning the biggest races on a continuous basis. He became the first trainer to win the Epsom Derby in three consecutive years when Australia won in 2014, following on from Ruler Of The World and Camelot. Camelot's success was all the more remarkable as it was the first father/son (Joseph), trainer/jockey partnership to win a British classic.

The pair repeated the feat with Australia in the same race in 2014 and they also landed the Doncaster St Leger with Leading Light in 2013. At Royal Ascot in 2015, O'Brien saddled eight winners over the five days. Minding gave O'Brien his 250th Group/Grade 1 winner on the Flat when taking the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket in May, 2016. O'Brien saddled his 50th winner at Royal Ascot when Even Song won the Ribblesdale Stakes on Thursday, June 17th, 2016.

In October of the same year, he recorded a magnificent 1-2-3 in the €5m Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly when the Ryan Moore-ridden Found led home Highland Reel and Order Of St George. All three are by leading sire Galileo.

This season saw no boundaries breached. Aidan recorded his 70th European Classic success when Churchill, ridden by Ryan Moore, landed the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh on Saturday, May 27th, 2017 and the trainer enjoyed his 300th Group 1/Grade 1 winner (Flat and National Hunt combined) when Highland Reel (Ryan Moore) took the Prince Of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 21st, 2017.

For several seasons he had come close to matching the record for the number of Group 1 victories in a season but the autumn of 2017 finally saw that achievement added to an already stellar career when Hydrangea became his 25th of the calendar year when winning the Qipco British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes at Ascot. A new world record was set when Saxon Warrior won the Racing Post Trophy in Doncasater on Saturday.

Aidan O'Brien - & Patrick McCann

Aidan O'Brien Profile:

County Of Origin: Wexford
Date of licence: June, 1993
First winner: Wandering Thoughts (Pat Gilson), Tralee, June 7th, 1993
Significant horses (selected): Wings Of Eagles, Winter, Churchill, Minding, Order Of St George, Found, Highland Reel, Ruler Of The World, Gleneagles, Adelaide, Australia, Camelot, So You Think, St Nicholas Abbey, Lillie Langtry, Fame And Glory, Mastercraftsman, Duke Of Marmalade, Henrythenavigator, Dylan Thomas, George Washington, Yeats, Footstepsinthesand, Oratorio, Yeats, High Chaparral, Hawk Wing, Rock Of Gibraltar, Galileo, Imagine, Giant's Causeway, Saffron Walden, Shahtoush, King Of Kings, Classic Park, Istabraq, Desert King, Urubande, Life Of A Lord.

Oct 29 Saint-Cloud, Criterium De Saint Cloud
Oct 29 Saint-Cloud, Criterium International
Nov 1 Munich, Grosser Preis Von Bayern
Nov 3 Del Mar, Breeders' Cup Distaff
Nov 3 Del Mar, Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf
Nov 3 Del Mar, Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile
Nov 3 Del Mar, Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf
Nov 4 Del Mar, Breeders' Cup Classic
Nov 4 Del Mar, Breeders' Cup Turf
Nov 4 Del Mar, Breeders' Cup Juvenile
Nov 4 Del Mar, Breeders' Cup Mile
Nov 4 Del Mar, Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies
Nov 4 Del Mar, Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf
Nov 4 Del Mar, Breeders' Cup Sprint
Nov 4 Del Mar, Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint
Nov 4 Del Mar, Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint
Nov 7 Flemington, Melbourne Cup
Nov 22 Tokyo, Japan Cup
Nov 25 Del Mar, Hollywood Derby
Nov 26 Del Mar, Matriarch Stakes
Dec 10 Sha Tin, Longines Hong Kong Cup
Dec 10 Sha Tin, Longines Hong Kong Mile
Dec 10 Sha Tin, Longines Hong Kong Sprint
Dec 10 Sha Tin, Longines Hong Kong Vase

“It looked for some weeks like Aidan would create a new world record number of Group 1s in a calendar year and, now that he has, we shouldn’t allow what we thought was inevitable distract from the achievement: this is an incredible, historic feat and one worthy of great celebration,” said Horse Racing Ireland Chief Executive, Brian Kavanagh.

“In posting a tally never before realised in the international world of Flat racing, he has also captured the imagination of the sporting public at large. Knowing his dedication and the talented team of people and horses he has assembled, I would expect Aidan could add even more Group and Grade 1 success to his tally with the number of top level races left to compete for around the world in 2017.”

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