At the age of just 21 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, he rode over 400 winners that included 10 individual Group 1 successes. Four of those top-level victories came in Classics, with him 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.
After a false start due to the Covid-19 crisis, Donnacha is ready to face into his first full season as a trainer. He sat down with Kevin Blake from attheraces.com to discuss his Flat team for the campaign ahead.