Saturday 23 December 2017

Aidan O'Brien

Record-breaking Champion trainer Aidan O’Brien already has 28 British and 37 Irish Classics wins and 55 victories at Ascot.

The son of farmer and small-scale horse trainer, Denis O’Brien, Adrien started his career at P.J Finn’s racing stables in County Kildare, before working with Jim Bolger at Coolcullen, County Carlow.

In 1996 he moved to Ballydoyle Stables in County Tipperary where he built his reputation as a legendary horseman Since becoming the private trainer for John Magnier and his Coolmore Stud he’s turned out some of the most prestigious horses in racing including Camelot, Peeping Fawn and leading sires Galileo and Giant’s Causeway. 

The same year he became Ireland’s youngest Champion Trainer at 26 a title he’s won a further 19 times and in 2010 became the youngest ever Champion British trainer. O’Brien was the first trainer in history to win the 1,000 Guineas and 2,000 Guineas in both the UK and Ireland in the same year. 

His incredible wins include the 1,000 Guineas four times, the 2,000 Guineas eight times, The Epsom Derby six times, the Epsom Oaks six times and St. Leger Stakes five times. In Ireland he’s won the Irish 1,000 Guineas, the Irish 2,000 Guineas 11 times, the Champion Stakes seven times, the Irish Derby 12 times, the Irish Oaks five times and The National Stakes 11 times. 

His love of horseracing runs in the family. In 2012 Aidan and son Joseph became the first ever father/son partnership to win the Derby with Camelot.

Tuesday 19 December 2017

Mill Reef

Bred and owned by the late Paul Mellon, trained by Ian Balding at Park House Stables in Kingsclere, near Newbury, and ridden, exclusively, by Geoff Lewis, Mill Reef won 12 of his 14 races between 1970 and 1972. In fact, his record of six consecutive Group One victories in 1971/72 stood for 30 years, until broken by Rock Of Gibraltar in 2001/02.

Named after the Mill Reef Club, a private members’ club on the island of Antigua in the West Indies, Mill Reef was an outstanding juvenile in 1970, winning the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Gimcrack Stakes at York over 6 furlongs and the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket over 7 furlongs. He began his three-year-old campaign with victory in the Greenham Stakes, over 7 furlongs, at Newbury and, although beaten fair and square by Brigadier Gerard in the 2,000 Guineas, he would come into his own over middle distances as the season progressed.

Indeed, he displayed an excellent turn of foot to beat Linden Tree in the Derby at Epsom and subsequently beat the French colt Caro, the best older horse in Europe, by 4 lengths in the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown. Training Ian Balding later reflected, “He was going away from them in the last furlong; had it been over a mile and a half he’d have won by 10 lengths.”

Stepped back up to a mile and a half pulverised the opposition in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot, winning by 6 lengths, and finished the year with a 3-length victory over Pistol Packer in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp, breaking the track record in the process.

Mill Reef was kept in training as a four-year-old, winning the Prix Ganay at Longchamp and the Coronation Cup at Epsom, but was plagued by a virus and a swollen hock, before fracturing his left foreleg during a piece of work on the gallops at Kingsclere, which ended his racing career.

Friday 8 December 2017

Brigadier Gerard

Bred by John Hislop, trained by Major Dick Hern and ridden only by “Smokin’” Joe Mercer, Brigadier Gerard was arguably the best British-trained horse of the twentieth century. His Timeform rating of 144 has been bettered only by Sea Bird and, more recently, by Frankel.

Brigadier Gerard, named after the character created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, won seventeen of his eighteen races between 1970 and 1972 and was unbeaten at two and three. His most important win as a juvenile came in the Middle Park Stakes, over 6 furlongs, on the Rowley Mile course at Newmarket, where he beat Mummy’s Pet and Swing Easy by 3 lengths and half a length.

The following season, he returned to Newmarket for the 2,000 Guineas, which he won by 3 lengths from Mill Reef. Geoff Lewis, who rode the runner-up, said afterwards, “The winner was always going too well for me. As soon as Joe [Mercer] produced Brigadier Gerard I knew we were beaten.”

Brigadier Gerard subsequently won the St. James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood, the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, also at Ascot, and the Champion Stakes at Newmarket as a three-year-old. His winning streak continued into his four-year-old campaign with victories in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury, the Prince of Wales’s Stakes again, the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown and the King George and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.

‘The Brigadier’ finally met his Waterloo in the inaugural running of the Benson and Hedges Gold Cup, now the Juddmote International Stakes, at York in August, 1972. Facing just four rivals, including Roberto and Rheingold, first and second in the Derby, Brigadier Gerard started 1/3 favourite but, as commentator John Penney observed, saw his unbeaten record “absolutely smashed to smithereens”. He was eventually beaten 3 lengths by 12/1 chance Roberto, who made most of the running, with Gold Rod 10 lengths further away in third. Jean Hislop, co-owner of Brigadier Gerard said, ungraciously, afterwards that Roberto “must have been stung by a bee.”

Wednesday 6 December 2017

Luke Morris


A popular English jockey, Luke Morris was born 20th October, 1988, and trained at the Newmarket British Racing School form a young age. Brought up in this kind of academic format, he was apprenticed by racehorse trainer Michael Bell. To this day, he still maintains a strong connection to the city that he grew up in – and those who set him on the pathway to success.

Despite his tender age and a growing career still to come, Morris has been progression as a jockey throughout his whole career. From his first win away back in late 2005 to his first major win in 2016, he’s become a racer that many people have plenty of time for around the race course.

Deemed in 2012 as the ‘Britain’s busiest jockey’ by the Daily Mirror, Morris took on an incredible 1,330 rides in 2011 alone and this showcases his utter determination to reach the top and take himself to the highest level possible of the sport.

Career Summary

With over 8,000 rides between 2010 and 2015 alone, he’s one of the most persistent jockeys on the planet. A strong career relationship with Neil Allan means that it’s not often that Morris isn’t found on the racecourse, either racing or getting ready for a race. His first winner came in 2005, with his first big win coming in 2007 when he rode Juniper Girl to success at the Northumberland Plate.

2010 was his first race success, when he won the Group 3 Ballyogan Stakes aboard Gilt Edge Girl. His first Group 1 win came towards the end of 2010, when he won the Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp.

With plenty to come from the busy jockey, it won’t be long before we see him back winning.

Achievements & Highlights

Major Wins – Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp (2010, 2016)

Associations – Michael Bell, Neil Allan.