At the age of just 22 Donnacha O’Brien has already accumulated a substantial CV in racing. His time as a jockey was always going to be restricted due to the weight issues associated with his tall frame, but in a career that lasted just over five years he put together a list of achievements that would be the envy of most.
Crowned Champion Apprentice in 2016 and Champion Jockey in 2018 and 2019 in Ireland, he rode over 400 winners that included 10 individual Group 1 successes. Four of those top-level victories came in Classics, winning the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on Saxon Warrior and Magna Grecia, the Oaks at Epsom on Forever Together and the Irish Derby on Latrobe. He announced his retirement from race riding in November 2019.
Training was always likely to be the next step for Donnacha and during his last year as a jockey he took charge of a string of horses in Longfield where David Wachman used to train. While he sent out winners from Longfield under Aidan O’Brien’s name in 2019, his first winner after he received his trainer’s licence came when Flower Garland won a maiden at Dundalk on February 21st 2020.
Donnacha wasn’t no time making his mark, saddling Fancy Blue to win the Prix de Diane at Chantilly and the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood and Shale to win the Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh to give him a sensational first full season with a licence.
Having set out his stall in no uncertain terms, Donnacha sat down with Kevin Blake from attheraces.com to discuss his Flat team for the campaign ahead.