Aidan O’Brien Recognised with QIPCO Hall of Fame Honour

This weekend saw the first major meeting of the British flat season as the cream of the three-year-old division goes under starters’ orders in the 1000 and 2000 Guineas. The opening Classics of the season will see the crowning of the King and Queen of the mile division, but before the action gets underway on the track, the sport will pay tribute to the most successful trainer of the modern era – and one of the most successful of all time.

When zeroing in on the latest handler to ascend to the QIPCO Hall of Fame, the decision-makers were faced with one overwhelming candidate. We are, of course, referring to the master of Ballydoyle, maestro Aidan O’Brien. Sending out his first winner at Tralee in 1993, O’Brien has since gone on to take the sport by storm, achieving a level of domestic and international success which has eclipsed all that has come before.

The Fourth Name on an Exclusive List

Aidan O’Brien
monkeywing, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

When receiving his medal before racing on 2000 Guineas Day, O’Brien will become only the fourth trainer to receive such an accolade – joining the honoured duo of Sir Michael Stoute and Sir Henry Cecil, and former Ballydoyle supremo Vincent O’Brien (no relation).

Amongst hugely successful sportsmen, it’s hard to imagine an individual humbler than O’Brien. True to form, when informed of the award, he responded, “There is no doubt it is all about the people. We always say you can have the horses about the place, but if you don’t have the people, it is a waste of time. They are the ones that put in the hard work, day in, day out, and we appreciate that”. He went on to say that “It is incredible, and a privilege for us, as it is something we would never have expected”.

No Surprise to Racing Fans

Aidan may not have expected it, but it’s fair to say that everyone else within the sport did – the claims of the 54-year-old are quite simply impossible to ignore. To chronicle O’Brien’s achievements would require an article of twice this length, but a quick summary should suffice:

  • 9 Epsom Derby Wins – most in the history of the race
  • 10 Epsom Oaks Wins
  • 7 1000 Guineas Wins
  • 10 2000 Guineas Wins – most in the history of the race
  • 7 St. Leger Wins
  • 85 Wins at Royal Ascot – most by any trainer in the history of the meeting
  • World Record for the most Group/Grade 1 wins in a season – 28 in 2017
  • 50 Irish Classic Wins
  • 18 Breeders’ Cup Successes

All that, and he also managed to land three Champion Hurdles at the Cheltenham Festival with the brilliant Istabraq. Ominously for his rivals, O’Brien appears to be as strong as ever as the yard moves into the post-Galileo era. A genius with horses and a gentleman off the track, there could be no more deserving inductee.