- 30 Jan 19
Hailing from the O'Brien racing dynasty, Joseph O'Brien is one of the most sought-after young trainers around - and he's set to enjoy further success in 2019.
At the young age of 25, Joseph O'Brien has a stack of victories in the horse racing game. While most people are figuring out the cruel world of 'adulting', he was racking up wins on the flat. After bagging a bronze medal at the 2009 European Pony Championships, he went on to win the 2,000 Guineas in 2012, the Epsom Derby and the Irish Derby, and was named Irish Champion Jockey that same year - not bad for 18. In 2013, he decided to focus on training full time, and has gone from strength to strength, with 2018 being a phenomenal year for the Kilkenny man.
"Winning the Irish Gold Cup last year was a huge one for us and the yard," he enthuses, "and we won the Irish Derby. Then we were lucky enough to win the Melbourne Cup. So it was a great year."
And 2019 looks set to be even bigger, with the number of horses Joseph has on the cards. So what are his goals for the season?
"We actually don't set a huge amount of goals. We obviously have a number of horses and do the best we can with each horse in the yard. Some horses aren't as good as others, so they can't compete in weekends like the Dublin Racing Festival for example. We start the year just wanting to have as many winners as possible, and to get the best out of each horse in the yard."
With so many victories and success with training, was there ever anything else Joseph might have gone on to do?
"I was never clever enough in school for there to be a fear of me becoming an accountant, so that was never on the table. It's something I grew up doing. I don't know much else!"
Son of the trainer Aidan O'Brien, Joseph took over The Hill horse racing club two years ago and has made strides in making horse owning more accessible for younger racers in particular.
"Obviously to get involved in horse racing can be quite expensive," Joseph admits. "When you buy horses, you have training fees and so on, so for younger people especially who wouldn't have the budgets to buy horses, they can get involved with the club. They get trips to the yard with some of their mates and go racing - everything that goes with owning a horse."
With over 48 thousand followers, O'Brien even put the name of one of his horses to the good folk of Twitter.
"I don't have a very good imagination!" he chuckles. "So we put it out there and a huge amount of people reacted - we ended up naming him from it. It's certainly something we'd do again".
Catch Joseph at the Dublin Racing Festival, Saturday 2nd & Sunday 3rd February at Leopardstown Racecourse. See more at leopardstown.com