New dawn excites O’Brien

As the sun begins to rise for the new racing season, astute trainer Danny O’Brien is confident he will continue to be a major Spring player despite losing his two best horses to the Breeding Barn in recent months.

Cox Plate and Australian Guineas champion Shamus Award (Widden) and Newmarket winner Shamexpress (Windsor Park) have both been retired and sent to stud and as these two imposing figures enter in the next phase of their careers, where they will be looking to pass on the characteristics that saw them achieve at the highest level onto their next generation, O’Brien takes the glass half-full approach as he reflects on their careers.

“If our two best horses are retired to stand at stud every year, we will be doing our job as this means they achieved at the highest level, which is what we aim with every one of our horses,” the 16-time Group 1 winning trainer said.

“We have the facilities (at Flemington and Barwon Heads) to give every racehorse that comes into our stable the opportunity to reach its full potential and we are always out to achieve that,” O’Brien said.

It’s this attitude that has O’Brien excited about the coming racing season. “We have some beautiful horses about to turn two and three, and I am looking forward to getting them to the track over the next few months leading into the season. I am sure one or two them will measure up in the better races.”

O’Brien has increased his older racing stocks by picking up some fine horses including highly regarded kiwi Beauty’s Beast, Group performer Prince Harada and Sandown Cup winner Caravan Rolls On, all of which are set to debut for the Flemington trainer in the new season.

“We are very fortunate to get an opportunity with such quality horses and we couldn’t be happier with how they are coming along through the early stages of their campaigns.”

O’Brien is becoming known as a ‘stallion maker’ in recent seasons as he also oversaw the career of present buzz-stallion Star Witness, whom he prepared to win the Blue Diamond and Coolmore Stud Stakes both at Group 1 level, and he is thrilled as the stallion’s first crop are about to turn two.

“Everyone that I talk to is raving about their Star Witness colts and fillys, and like them I couldn’t be happier with how his progeny that I have secured have done since the sales. They are showing good early signs and I will be excited as anyone if he his sons and daughters can reach the heights he did.”