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Racing Legend Vincent O'Brien Dies Aged 92

Friday, 18th December 2009

Vincent O'Brien "arguably the greatest racehorse trainer of all time" died overnight at his home in Straffan in County Kildare in Ireland aged 92, reported racingpost.com. A statement issued on behalf of his family read: "He & his wife Jacqueline have been spending their winters in Perth in Australia where their son David is now living with his family. Due to failing health, he returned to his home in Ireland last week. At the end he was surrounded by his wife, his 5 children, grand-children & sons & daughters-in-law. He will be greatly missed by his family & friends." O'Brien trained 16 British Classic winners (including the Derby 6 times) & 27 Irish Classic winners; he won most of the major flat races in Europe; & also achieved big race success in the US with Sir Ivor in the 1968 Gr1 Washington International & Royal Academy in the 1990 Gr1 Breeders' Cup Mile. O'Brien originally made his name as a jumps trainer, becoming the only trainer to land 3 consecutive winners of the historic Grand National at Aintree between 1953-1955 (Early Mist, Royal Tan & Quare Times); he also won 4 Cheltenham Gold Cups & 3 consecutive runnings of the Champion Hurdle. His record saw him voted "racing's greatest achiever of all time" in a UK Racing Post readers' poll in 2003 (to list the top 100 racing greats). O'Brien began training at his family's farm in Churchtown in County Cork in 1943; in 1951 he bought a 285-acre farm near the village of Rosegreen in County Tipperary for £17,000 (A$34,500) & "turned it into a training centre par excellence which became known to the racing world as Ballydoyle, an establishment which continues to flourish under Aidan O'Brien who was appointed trainer for the Coolmore partnership following Vincent O'Brien's retirement in 1994". Having scaled the heights as a trainer of jumpers, O'Brien "went on to surpass those achievements on the flat & his record as a top trainer in both spheres remains unequalled. In the early 1970s, along with Robert Sangster & John Magnier, he formed a syndicate which was to propel Coolmore Stud to the forefront of the international breeding industry by buying yearlings in the US, training them at Ballydoyle to achieve Gr1 success & then standing them as stallions." (Jun 2)

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