Donnacha O'Brien retires from race riding with a view to training in 2020

Donnacha O'Brien
Donnacha O'Brien

Donnacha O'Brien has announced his retirement from the saddle, stating he wishes to focus on training from next season.

O'Brien, the 21-year-old Irish champion Flat jockey, rode two Group One winners in Britain in 2019, claiming the QIPCO 2000 Guineas on Magna Grecia at Newmarket in May and also partnering Magical to victory in the QIPCO Champion Stakes at Ascot on October 19.

O'Brien is a son of Ballydoyle trainer Aidan and has won 10 Group One races in his short riding career, while he's been crowned leading jockey in Ireland for the past two seasons.

O’Brien announced his retirement on Twitter where he said in a statement: “After thinking about things for a while I have decided to concentrate on training next year.

“Riding has been very good to me and I owe everything to the people around me. I want to give special thanks to the Magnier, Smith and Tabor families along with my own family for all their support.

“I look forward to training a small group of horses next year and will hopefully build from there.”

O'Brien rode his first Group One winner aboard Intricately, trained by his brother Joseph, in the 2016 Moyglare Stud Stakes and he secured three Classic wins last year.

He partnered Saxon Warrior to win the 2000 Guineas for his father Aidan, before the pair again struck gold with Forever Together in the Investec Oaks at Epsom in June.

The rider then steered Latrobe to win the Irish Derby for his brother later that month, while Magna Grecia gave O'Brien what was to be his final Classic success in this year's Guineas.

O'Brien rode his first winner aboard Quartz for his father at Dundalk in September 2014 when he was just 16, graduating to be champion apprentice in 2016 and riding out his claim in April 2017.

He chalked up his first century of winners last year in claiming the riders' title, and he finished this season on 111 to match Joseph in winning back-to-back championships.

Among those to congratulate O'Brien on his career was nine-time Irish champion jockey Pat Smullen.

He wrote on Twitter: "Congratulations @donnacha_obrien on a great riding career - you achieved so much in such a short space of time.

"It was nice to share the weigh room with you for a while, and I wish you the best of luck in the next chapter!"


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