O'Brien sweeps European awards
Aidan O'Brien has had a remarkable year, even by his high standards, scoring 22 Group 1 successes. This was recognised at the Cartier European Racing Awards in London last week when the Ballydoyle Maestro took six of the top gongs.
He was presented with the coveted annual Order of Merit Award and horses in his charge swept the boards. Minding, a five time Group 1 winner, was named as European Horse of the Year and filly of the year; Found and Order of St. George won the older horse and top stayer categories, and Churchill was leading two-year-old colt.
Seldom has one man or stable exercised such European dominance, emphasised by an unprecedented 1-2-3 in the Prix De l'Arc de Triomphe and a similiar sweep in the English 1,000 Guineas.
And the trophies will keep on coming as the Horse Racing Ireland annual awards are coming up at Leopardstown on December 5, and O'Brien will surely figure strongly again.
He will have some Wexford company that night as Jamie Codd (Mayglass) and Barry O'Neill (Kiltealy), the two men who fought out the riders' championship last season, have both been nominated in the point-to-point section.
Codd took his second national title and eleventh successive Eastern region win, while O'Neill had his best season ever and chased him all the way.
I don't wish to be greedy but it is a surprise that Colin Bowe was not also included as he ran away with the point-to-point trainers' championship.