There’s no denying that champion Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien is good at his trade, you only have to look at his record to recognise that. But then again, if you were looking after a never-ending production line of bluebloods bought or bred by some of the wealthiest men in Europe, wouldn’t you fancy yourself to win a few decent races?
This is a guy who never has to worry about grinding out winners in the bottom tier of racing, just to put food on the table or hang onto some owners. He never has to fight against owners who want to move to a bigger stable promising fame and fortune, or don’t agree with his methods. Just imagine how long O’Brien would last if he was trainer for Nathan Tinkler and Patinack Farm?
He has a bottomless pit of resources, and it matters little if one of his promising horses doesn’t quite measure up – they’ll just be lined as pacemaking fodder for the next potential superstar in the stable. It’s all about producing stallions for them – a friend of mine bought a close relation to one of their stallion prospects last year at auction, with the intention to go jumping with it and win a race at Cheltenham. Any mention of jumping on the family tree is deemed to slash millions from potential earnings in a stud career. The Coolmore production line couldn’t allow that to happen and made the syndicate an offer they couldn’t refuse, within hours of the auction.
O’Brien has waxed lyrical about So You Think throughout the year, possibly the best he’s ever had, nothing can keep up with him at home, what a beast of a horse etc.. But for two poor sets of tactics, he should probably be undefeated in Europe. In the Prince of Wales at Royal Ascot, he was slaughtered by Ryan Moore by a stupid pacemaker which went way too far in front, causing Moore to fire the champ up way too early in pursuit and get nabbed on the line by the ill-fated Rewilding.
I travelled over to Paris for the world’s finest race, the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe, with an Aussie flag in my backpack ready to fly it proudly when he streeted clear in the final 200m. Hell, the nude run up the straight wearing the flag as a cape was not a million to one if the dream came true. With any decent luck, I had him coming out on top after crossing to take a sit near the pace – the way he always races!
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