Joseph O’Brien celebrated a racing milestone on
Saturday afternoon when Al Riffa’s win at the Curragh gave him the 1,000th
success of his training career, writes Jack Lacey-Hatton.
The two-year-old was ridden prominently throughout
by Dylan Browne McMonagle and eased to victory in the opening seven-furlong
Although O’Brien wasn’t able to witness the
landmark in person, due to preparing runners at Saratoga, his assistant Brendan
Powell was full of praise for the 29-year-old trainer, who achieved the
milestone in just over six years with a licence.
“It’s phenomenal what he has done at his age,”
Powell told the Racing Post. “Joseph is in Saratoga with a runner tonight and a
"Fair play to him, it keeps us in a job for
“Dylan said he (Al Riffa) jumped off smarter today
and was up there.
“He’s so big and still immature, but he’s come on
bundles for his first run. The future is bright with him and he could be
anything. He’ll stay well.
“Once he started niggling he felt he had to kick
when he did. He said he kept quickening from two out all the way to line. Even
a stronger gallop would have suited him.
“He seems to go on this quick ground for a big
horse. Dylan said he’d be better with a little cut in it.
“They have mentioned National Stakes and you would
have to talk about that with him. For the size of him I think he’s going to be
a cracking three-year-old.”