By Breandán Ó hUallacháin
Despite the fact that we are now into October, a month when traditionally the National Hunt season really kicks into gear, Irish racing interest is still firmly set on the flat as multiple-time Irish Champion trainer Aidan O’Brien bids to set a new World Record for the number of Group/Grade 1 races won in a year.
The late American trainer Bobby Frankel, after whom owner Prince Khalid Abdullah named his wonder horse Frankel, set the current world record in 2003. The New York-born Hall of Fame trainer died prematurely on 16th November 2009 following a battle with cancer.
The Master of Ballydoyle, Aidan O’Brien, has come close to the record on a number of occasions. In 2003 O’Brien trained 23 Group/Grade 1 race winners, but also took the Irish Champion Hurdle with Istabraq which have him a mixed flat-National Hunt total of 24 for that year. It took the Wexford-born trainer another 7 years before he achieved a figure close to Frankel’s when he had 22 winners at the highest level.
In 2011 O’Brien reached 20 Group/Grade 1 winners, while last year he trained 22 on the flat and with Ivanovich Gorbatov winning the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham, he achieved 23 top-level successes.
Following double Group 1 successes at both Newmarket last Saturday, and Chantilly on Sunday, O’Brien has had 22 winners of Group/Grade 1 races this year. He now requires just 3 to equal Frankel’s record, or 4 to set a new world record. The following is a list of remaining Group or Grade 1 races where O’Brien may have a runner as he seeks one of the few records he has not yet broken.
7th Newmarket Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes.
13th Newmarket Fillies Mile.
14th Newmarket Dubai Dewhurst.
15th Woodbine Pattison Canadian International.
15th Woodbine EP Taylor Stakes.
21st Caulfield Caulfield Cup.
21st Ascot Qipco Champion Stakes.
21st Ascot Qipco British Champions Fillies and Mares.
21st Ascot Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.
21st Ascot Qipco British Champions Sprint.
22nd Saint-Cloud Prix Royal-Oak.
28th Moonee Valley WS Cox Plate.
28th Doncaster Racing Post Trophy.
29th Saint-Cloud Criterium De Saint Cloud.
29th Saint-Cloud Criterium International.
29th Rome Premio Lydia Tesio.
1st Munich Grosser Preis Von Bayern.
3rd Del Mar Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
3rd Del Mar Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.
3rd Del Mar Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.
3rd Del Mar Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.
4th Del Mar Breeders’ Cup Classic.
4th Del Mar Breeders’ Cup Turf.
4th Del Mar Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
4th Del Mar Breeders’ Cup Mile.
4th Del Mar Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.
4th Del Mar Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.
4th Del Mar Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
4th Del Mar Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.
4th Del Mar Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.
7th Flemington Melbourne Cup.
25th Del Mar Hollywood Derby.
26th Del Mar Matriarch Stakes.
10th Sha Tin Longines Hong Kong Cup.
10th Sha Tin Longines Hong Kong Mile.
10th Sha Tin Longines Hong Kong Sprint.
10th Sha Tin Longines Hong Kong Vase.