A good horse should move like a ballet dancer - Vincent O’Brien

Vincent O'Brien, Was born on, 9th April, 1917, Churchtown, County Cork, Republic Of Ireland.

Vincent ended his career with a total of 141 Group One Race wins 67 in UK 66 in Ireland 6 in France and 2 in the United States.

  Vincent O'Brien and his family at home..12.05.1961Image result for charles  o'brien

 Vincent O'Brien married Jacqueline Wittenoom, from Perth, Australia, in 1951 and had five children, daughters Elizabeth the widow of Kevin McClory, Susan, wife of John Magnier and Jane, wife of Phillip Myerscough and sons Charles and David who followed in their father's footsteps as trainers, as did Vincent's grandson David Myerscough. Grandsons J.P. Magnier and M.V. Magnier, have ridden with success as amateur jockeys. Charles was married to Anne Heffernan and had two children (Michael Vincent O'Brien Jr. and Katherine Margaret O'Brien). The marriage was dissolved and he is now married to Tammy Twomey. They have two daughters (Emily Jillian O'Brien and Penny Jacqueline O'Brien). Altogether Vincent and Jaqueline had 5 children and 19 grandchildren.

Wife Jacqueline Wittenoom/O'Brien Daughters Elizabeth Jane & Susan Son David & Charles(bottom)



Vincent’s older son, David won the Epsom Derby in 1984 with Secreto, (Right) beating his father's horse, El Gran Senor, whose name comes from the nickname of Horatio Luro, Northern Dancer's trainer. 

David, who also won the Irish and French Derbies in 1982 with Assert, is the youngest ever trainer to win an Epsom Derby, Irish Derby and a French Derby. However, in a decision that shocked the racing world, David suddenly retired from horse racing in 1988 following the birth of his third son, Charles.



 Vincent O'Brien's achievements over jumps are unique and he is still the only trainer to win three consecutive Grand Nationals, Early Mist (Pictured Left )(1953) Royal Tan (1954) and Quare times (1955). Four Gold Cups, Cottage Rake (1948-49-50) and Hard Knock (1953). Three Champion Hurdles, Hatton's Grace, (1949-50-51). 

All in the space of eight seasons (1948-55) and before he celebrated his 38th birthday. His exploits at the Cheltenham Festival were nothing short of phenomenal, from 1948 to 1959, he saddled twenty three winners and his last winner at the Festival was York Fair in 1959, when he then decided to switch codes.


When Vincent O'Brien announced his retirement in 1994, it brought to an end a career unrivalled in the modern era. The country's current pre-eminence in the bloodstock industry would not have been achieved without O'Brien, who lifted the image of Irish racing and breeding onto the international plane with his vision and genius. From humble origins, he came to dominate both Flat and National Hunt racing.

If his jumps record was remarkable, he made an even bigger impact on the Flat after deciding to disperse his jumpers in 1959. He won the first of 27 Irish Classics, with Chamier (Pictured Right) in the 1953 Derby (five more were to follow in the Curragh showpiece). His 44 European Classic victories - 16 of them were English - included winning the Epsom Derby six times with Larkspur, Sir Ivor, Nijinsky, Roberto, The Minstrel and Golden Fleece. Four of those winners were

 picture of greyhound Chamier


Image result for Vincent 7 lester piggott 

partnered by Lester Piggott, (Pictured Left With Vincent with whom he was to enjoy a remarkable association in the late 1960s and 70s. 

Pat Glennon, Jack Purtell, Pat Eddery, Cash Asmussen and John Reid were his other main jockeys.

 Ballydoyle Stables

 The list of champion Flat horses he sent out from his Ballydoyle stables in Co Tipperary to conquer Europe included Ballymoss and Gladness in the 50s; Sir Ivor in the 60s; Triple Crown hero Nijinsky, Roberto, Thatch, Apalachee, Saritamer, Cloonlara, The Minstrel, dual Arc winner Alleged, Try My Best, Solinus, Thatching and Monteverdi in the 70s. Storm Bird, Golden Fleece and El Gran Senor in the 80s. During the late 70s and early 80s his association with Robert Sangster saw them dominate European racing until the advent of the Arabs. Their policy of buying yearlings with top pedigrees, usually the progeny

of Northern Dancer and syndicating the successful ones yielded vast profits. 

 His record at Royal Ascot was supreme, winning 25 races and never better than in 1975 when he trained six winners from seven runners. Royal Academy's victory in the Breeders' Cup Mile at Belmont Park put the seal on his career when landing an unforgettable win under Piggott in 1990. 

The success was his second in America following Sir Ivor's win in the Washington DC International (1968). Son Charles trains in Straffan, Co Kildare, following in the footsteps of older brother David,

Old Ascot Racecourse 

Vincent O’Brien was as meticulous training thoroughbreds as he was with his personal appearance. Every morning his row of gleaming boots and shoes is drawn up correct as a guardsman inside the side door opening onto the stable yard.  They are polished with zeal, the boss dresses nattily as well as neatly.  His tweed jacket, twill trousers and trilby hat, though sometimes he wears a cap, look newly brushed and pressed as if from a fashion shoot in a gentleman’s magazine.


 Vincent O'Brien was one of the first to weigh horses, on one occasion, a horse was down three kilos on his best weight and the trainer was puzzled. He did a tremendous dropping before he came to be weighed Boss, one of his staff said.  Did you weigh it? O’Brien asked.



On The Right The Vincent O'Brien Statue at Rosegreen Village. Above First 2 Pictures from Vincent's Funeral Bottom Picture Vincent with his 5 children & Wife.

 Early in his career Vincent O’Brien became a shrewd gambler, it was a matter of survival he said, owners like to have a bet and I had to come up with the goods to survive.

Sadly Vincent O’Brien passed away on the 9th June 2009 aged 92.

His brother Phonsie summed him up. He was a brilliant man, single minded, and didn’t care what people thought of him.

Major Race Wins Flat:

United Kingdom Great Britain

Republic of Ireland Ireland

  • Irish 1,000 Guineas - (3) - Valoris (1966), Lady Capulet (1977), Godetia (1979)

  • Irish 2,000 Guineas - (5) - El Toro (1959), Jaazeiro (1978), King's Lake (1981), Sadler's Wells (1984), Prince of Birds (1988)

  • Irish Champion Stakes - (5) - Inkerman (1978), Fordham (1979), Gregorian (1980), King's Lake (1981), Sadler's Wells (1984)

  • Irish Derby - (6) - Chamier (1953), Ballymoss (1957), Nijinsky (1970), The Minstrel (1977), El Gran Senor (1984), Law Society (1985)

  • Irish Oaks - (4) - Ancasta (1964), Aurabella (1965), Gaia (1969), Godetia (1979)

  • Irish St. Leger - (9) - Barclay (1959), White Gloves (1966), Reindeer (1969), Caucasus (1975), Meneval (1976), Transworld (1977), Gonzales (1980), Leading Counsel (1985), Dark Lomond (1988)

  • Matron Stakes - (3) - Kalamaika (1978), Magisterial (1979), Calandra (1980)

  • Moyglare Stud Stakes - (2) - Woodstream (1981), Capricciosa (1990)

  • National Stakes - (15) - Sir Ivor (1967), Roberto (1971), Chamozzle (1972), Cellini (1973), Sir Wimborne (1975), Monteverdi (1979), Storm Bird (1980), Glenstal (1982), El Gran Senor (1983), Law Society (1984), Tate Gallery (1985), Caerwent (1987), Classic Fame (1988), El Prado (1991), Fatherland (1992)

  • Phoenix Stakes - (2) - Cloonlara (1976), Achieved (1981)

  • Pretty Polly Stakes - (7) - Little Mo (1959), Ancasta (1964), Iskereen (1967), Rimark (1968), Godetia (1979), Calandra (1980), Dark Lomond (1988)

  • Tattersalls Gold Cup - (5) - Nardoo (1963), White Gloves (1967), Selko (1969), Cavo Doro (1973), Golden Fleece (1982)

France France

United States United States



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