Racing’s world-famous O’Brien family are celebrating on the double after trainer Aidan and son Joseph enjoyed a Breeder’s Cup day bonanza.
The pair combined as Joseph became the younger ever winner of a Breeder’s Cup race when he guided St Nicholas Abbey to victory for his father in the Turf at Churchill Downs on Saturday.
The win by St Nicholas Abbey was the second of the day for O’Brien’s Ballydoyle stable after Ryan Moore and Wrote to Glory triumphed in the Juvenile Turf event.
Jockey Joseph, just 18, showed maturity way beyond his years as he settled St Nicholas Abbey in mid-division before the Montjeu colt picked up superbly when angled out for a run.
O’Brien then left Sea Moon, Moore and Brilliant Speed to fight for the minor places.
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An emotional Aidan O’Brien said: “It’s very special, unbelievable. It was a wonderful ride, it’s incredible. What can I say, he’s an incredible rider. It’s been one of the proudest days of my life, just unbelievable.”
Mum Anne-Marie, admitted: “I’m so excited, he gave it a super ride. It’s fantastic. My heart was going 100mph, I could hardly stand up I was so nervous. We are so pleased to be here.”
Having ridden his first Group One winner in May on Roderic O’Connor in the Irish 2,000 Guineas, O’Brien Junior was ready for the Breeder’s Cup challenge at an event he knows well despite his youth.
Joseph said: “Obviously there was a fair degree of nerves, but I was looking forward to it. It’s a dream come true. I was very happy with my position, I was very happy with the horse and he picked up when it mattered.
“I’ve been coming to the Breeders’ Cup since I was very small, but to ride here and to ride a winner here is something you can only dream about. It’s out of this world. I owe a big thank you to the owners for giving me the opportunity.”
Set to switch to jump racing in the future, the 5ft 11 inch O’Brien added:
“I’ll keep riding on the Flat for as long as possible, and take it from there.”
The O’Brien trained So You Think failed to make the places in the Classic.