County Of Origin: Tipperary
Date of licence: June 3, 2016
First winner: Justice Frederick (Donnacha O'Brien) Gowran Park, June 7, 2016
500th winner: Pasley (Donnacha O'Brien) Gowran Park, October 14, 2019
Significant horses (selected): Rekindling, Latrobe, Intricately, Iridessa, Edwulf, Tower Bridge, Tigris River, Plinth, True Blue Moon, Slowmotion, Edwulf, Landofhopeandglory, Arya Tara, Band Of Outlaws, Early Doors.
Assoc. jockeys: Wayne Lordan, Donnacha O'Brien, Shane Crosse, JJ Slevin, Jody McGarvey, Barry Geraghty, Mark Walsh, Derek O'Connor
Did you know:
Eldest son of champion trainer Aidan, Joseph O'Brien began riding in 2009 and the following year shared the Champion Apprentice title with Gary Carroll and Ben Curtis. In 2011, he was still just 17 years of age when riding his first Classic winner on Roderic O'Connor in the Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh. He won the Champion Apprentice title that season and rounded off the year by becoming the youngest jockey, at 18, to win a Breeders' Cup race when successful on St Nicholas Abbey in the Breeders' Cup Turf. He was Champion Jockey in 2012 and easily retained his title in 2013 when he set a new record of 126 winners in a season, comfortably eclipsing Michael Kinane's 20-year-old record of 115 winners.
In October, 2015, O’Brien announced that he would begin to train point-to-pointers and he rode what would prove to be his final winner at Gowran Park later in the same month. He took over the running of the family’s training establishment at Piltown, County Kilkenny, and was widely credited with the success of a number of horses, including the 2016 Triumph Hurdle winner Ivanovich Gorbatov, although his father was the official trainer. Joseph officially got off the mark at the Cheltenham Festival when the JJ Slevin-ridden Band Of Outlaws won the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle at the meeting in March, 2019 and a second winner came in the final race of that year's Festival with Early Doors in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle.
In the days before Ivanovich Gorbatov’s Cheltenham success, O’Brien had announced his retirement from riding. In all, he had ridden 518 winners. He enjoyed 30 Group/Grade 1 winners and 10 Classic victories. Aidan and Joseph O’Brien had become the first father and son partnership to win the Epsom Derby with Camelot in 2012 and they repeated the feat just two years later when Australia won the biggest race in the Flat calendar. Joseph also rode both horses to win the Irish Derby at the Curragh. His final Classic success came on Order Of St George in the Irish St Leger in 2015. O’Brien completed the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board’s Pre-Racehorse Trainers Development Course in late May, 2016 and was granted his trainer's licence on Friday, June 3rd, 2016.
He had his first runners on Bank Holiday Monday, June 6th
and made an explosive start to his new career with four winners on his first
day with a licence. He was on the mark with is first runner, Justice Frederick,
who was ridden by his brother Donnacha, in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden
and the 6/4 chance got the better of his father Aidan’s 6/5 favourite Leo Minor
to win. Donnacha was also on board Zig Zag who won the Gowran Park Club Handicap
later in the day and for good measure, Joseph’s sister, Sarah, rode Oathkeeper
to win the Dr Louis O’Carroll INH Flat Race at Listowel. In between those
winners, Mai Fitzs Jack and Brian O’Connell landed a maiden hurdle at the Kerry
venue. Joseph’s first winners came just a day short of the 23rd anniversary of
his father’s first winner, Wandering Thoughts, at Tralee on June 7th, 1993.
Joseph returned to the saddle to win the Clipper Logistics Leger Legends Classified Stakes on the George Scott-trained Phosphorescence at Doncaster on September 7th, 2016 and just four days later landed his first Group 1 success as a trainer when Intricately, bred by his mother Annmarie and ridden by his brother Donnacha, won the Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh on Longines Irish Champions Weekend. It was also a first Group 1 success in the saddle for 18-year-old Donnacha. Joseph enjoyed his first winner as a trainer in Britain when the Jimmy Quinn-ridden Lynn's Memory won at Bath on June 17th, 2017. He reached 100 winners in a calendar year for the first time when Detailed, ridden by Wayne Lordan, won the Listed Martin Molony Stakes at Limerick on Saturday, October 7th, 2017.
At just 24 years of age, Joseph became the youngest winning trainer of the Emirates Melbourne Cup when his Rekindling beat the Aidan O'Brien-trained Johannes Vermeer and Willie Mullins' Max Dynamite in Australia's greatest race on November 7th, 2017. Rekindling was the third Irish-trained winner of the race after Dermot Weld's Vintage Crop in 1993 (the year Joseph O'Brien was born) and Media Puzzle in 2002 and was the first three-year-old to win since 1941. The occasion was hailed as one of the greatest days in Irish racing history.
He won the Guinness Galway Hurdle with the Barry Geraghty-ridden Tigris River on august 3, 2017 and just a few months later Joseph gained his first Grade 1 wins in the National Hunt sphere at the inaugural Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown in early February, 2018. He won the Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle with the JJ Slevin-ridden 25/1 chance Tower Bridge, a maiden over hurdles going into the race, on the opening day of the Festival and followed up when 33/1 Edwulf, ridden by leading amateur rider Derek O'Connor, won the Unibet Irish Gold Cup on the second day.
Joseph enjoyed his biggest home success as a trainer when Latrobe, carrying the same colours of Melbourne Cup hero Rekindling, won the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh on Saturday, June 30, 2018. The winner was ridden by his then 19-year-old brother Donnacha. Joseph won the race on two occasions as a jockey, on Camelot in 2012 and on Australia two years later. Joseph enjoyed his first Group 1 success in Britain when Iridessa, ridden by Wayne Lordan, won the bet365 Fillies' Mile at Newmarket on October 12, 2018.
Joseph landed his 500th winner as a trainer when Pasley, ridden by his brother Donnacha, won the Gowran Park Golf Memberships For 2020 Handicap at Gowran Park on October 14, 2019.
Eight years after he became the youngest jockey to win a Breeders' Cup race, Joseph became the youngest trainer to enjoy success at the annual extravaganza when Iridessa won the the Filly & Mare Turf at Santa Anita in November, 2019. She was the only European-based winner at the meeting, recording her fourth top-level win and giving a first Breeders' Cup victory to jockey Wayne Lordan. O'Brien became only the second person, after Freddy Head, to ride and train a Breeders’ Cup winner. On the same day, he also enjoyed a winner in Australia and a little closer to home at Down Royal.