In review: Aidan O’Brien’s four Group 1 victories in France
As has come to be expected, Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien has had quite the season, winning his fair share of Group 1 races across the United Kingdom and Ireland — including the Irish Oaks, the 1000 Guineas, the Sandown Eclipse and the Epsom Oaks, to name just a few.
However, it is not just in the UK and on home soil that the 51-year-old trainer enjoys a wealth of success and paves the ways for bettors in the horse racing tips, as he boasts victories in the biggest races all over the world, including the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong and even Australia.
In fact, O’Brien has had an impressive campaign in France this season, picking up four top-group victories — making this his best season at Longchamp, Deauville and Chantilly in some years. So, without further ado, read on as we recap those mammoth triumphs!
Poule d’Essai des Poulains – Longchamp
The French equivalent of the 2000 Guineas, St Mark’s Basilica ended O’Brien’s five-year wait for his fifth victory in the Group 1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains at Longchamp. Raced in midfield for much of 1,600m (or one-mile) race, the three-year-old was switched to the outside by jockey Iortiz Mendizabal around four furlongs out, and was quickly contesting for the lead. By the two-furlong marker, he was pushing into the lead — going on to beat 80/1 shot Colosseo.
Prix du Jockey Club – Chantilly
St Mark’s Basilica’s success in France this summer doesn’t end their either, as he won the Prix du Jockey Club, often referred to as the French Derby, at Chantilly just a matter weeks after his Poule d’Essai des Poulains triumph. Made the 14/5 favourite after that victory at Longchamp, the O’Brien-trained horse duly delivered on his market leader status. The extra two-and-a-half furlongs clearly weren’t an issue for the three-year-old, as he burst into the lead 300m out and Mendizabal never looked back — driving St Mark’s Basilica clear of his counterparts and to a one-and three-quarter-length victory.
Prix de Diane – Chantilly
The trainer/jockey duo of O’Brien and Mendizabal were proving impossible to beat in France, as Joan of Arc landed a massive victory in the Prix de Diane at Chantilly. Known as the French Oaks, the three-year-old tracked the leader for the most part of the race, but responded well when pushed up a gear late on by her Spanish jockey — making headway in the final 50m and beating the favourite, Philomene, by little less than a length.
Prix Rothschild – Deauville
A Group 1 race since 2004, Mother Earth landed O’Brien his first victory in the Prix Rothschild at Deaville Racecourse. The 2021 1000 Guineas champion was the 19/10 favourite for the 3yo+ Fillies and Mares race, which is contested over straight mile, and with the Irish trainer’s trusty number one jockey, Ryan Moore, in the saddle, she beat Sagamiyra over the line by just a head. It was an incredibly tight finish, with four horses in with a chance of winning as the finish line approached, but it was Mother Earth who edge it. Just half-a-length separated the winner from Speak Of The Devil in fourth.
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