Vincent O’Brien – In Profile
Michael O’Brien who is better known by his middle name, Vincent is widely considered the greatest race horse trainer of all time.
He was voted the best trainer of National Hunt and Flat racehorses by polls run by the racing post. His successes are wide spread and vast on both steeplechases and on flat races.
Vincent started off his career purely as a steeplechase trainer and managed to win the Grand National three times in a row from 1953 to 1955. This achievement was made all the more impressive by the fact that these three wins all came with different horses.
He also managed to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup three times in a row from 1948 to 1950 as well but this time it was all on the same horse. He later won the Gold Cup again in 1953. To add to his history of three successive wins in races he won the Champion Hurdle three years in a row from 1949 to 1951.
Not long after he won his third Grand National title he decided to turn his focus on to flat racing and set up his stables in County Tipperary in a town called Ballydoyle. His first top flight horse from these stables went on to win European Horse of the Year in 1958. Vincent’s first win in the Epsom Derby came in 1962 and he went on to win it again in 1968, 1970, 1972, 1977 and 1982. His one and only win in the 1000 Guineas Stakes was in 1966.
Throughout his career he was awarded many great accolades to credit his successes as a racing trainer. He was voted greatest National Hunt trainer of the 20th century, greatest flat trainer of the 20th century and the greatest figure in the history of horseracing. In the latter vote Vincent received an amazing 28% of the total vote.
He was awarded two honorary degrees, Doctor of Laws from the National University of Ireland and Doctor of Science from the University of Ulster.
Though out his great career, Vincent won major races all over the world, including in Ireland, the UK, USA and France in steeplechases and on the flat. These great achievements will be hard to surpass by any other racing trainer and will definitely secure him as one of the greatest names in horse racing for a long time to come.