The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” that is a comparable quote defining the similarities of both Aidan O’Brien and his son Joseph, who has decisively inherited his father’s ability of improving thoroughbreds at any given opportunity.
Joseph O’Brien is astonishingly only 25 years old, many would dispute that he is much older, he seems to have been around for a long time however it is more a case of what he has accomplished in such a short period of time.As a jockey he rode 31 Group/Grade 1 winners before that foreseeable day came when he had to retire, his height and frame made it unfeasible for him to make the weight compulsory to ride on the Flat.Though he was still just 22 years old when he ultimately decided to retire from the saddle, he had beforehand been playing a substantial role as a trainer under his father’s name at Owning Hill stables, with him being given all the recognition for the training achievement of getting Ivanovich Gorbatov fit enough to win the JCB Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in 2016.
Having been legitimately issued his own licence to train thoroughbreds in June 2016, O’Brien made the perfect transition from the saddle, working his way up to becoming one of the most respected trainers in the industry.
O’Brien has a battalion of serious contenders at the upcoming Cheltenham Festival, his squad appears to get stronger each season. One horse in particular of his has my ante-post senses tingling.
SIR EREC Is declared for the JCB Triumph Hurdle on the 15th March.
The son of Camelot won a Curragh maiden and a Listed prize at Limerick earlier in the year, before finishing third behind star stayer Stradivarius in the Long Distance Cup at Ascot.
Having subsequently moved from Aidan O’Brien’s yard to join his son, Joseph, Sir Erec was predictably a warm order for his hurdling bow as the 11-10 favourite, carrying the prominent colours of leading owner JP McManus. Sir Erec jumped well in the main and voyaged forcefully into the home straight – but the Willie Mullins-trained Tiger Tap Tap was going likewise well in his slipstream. The two settled down to fight it out after the final flight and, following a monumental scrimmage, it was the O’Brien runner who passed the post a neck to the good in the hands of Mark Walsh.
O’Brien stated after the race “He was obviously a decent horse on the Flat and he jumped well. His jumping will come on a nice bit for that”
“I was a bit nervous before the race, because there was a really strong word for the second. “I’m delighted to see him do that and he was tough from the back of the last when he had to be. “You can only do as much as you can at home and then they have to go and run. He had always schooled nicely, so it’s nice to see him go and win.
“He stays well, and he’ll have to come on from that.”
Sir Erec will likely be targeted at the Dublin Racing Festival in the coming days, then all systems will be go for the Cheltenham Festival in March. In my opinion I wouldn’t worry too much what he does prior to Cheltenham, O’Brien will have him spot on for the main assignment which looks probable to be the Triumph Hurdle.
The JP McManus owned SIR EREC is presently priced up at 8/1,O’Brien seems to hold all the aces in this race. This horse should run well and will likey go off much shorter in the betting on the day.