When they say it runs in the family, they really aren’t wrong. It was a day of firsts on Sunday at Chantilly, as Fancy Blue, a horse he rode to win a Naas maiden last September, provided him his first Classic success as a trainer. At the age of just twenty-one, it’s a remarkable feat to achieve, made all the more incredible by the fact that this is just the third winner of his career.
Brilliant Boudot At The Forefront
It was a superbly determined ride by Pierre-Charles Boudot that provided O’Brien with his red-letter day. Fancy Blue was always prominent under Boudot and as they reached the final few furlongs, Boudot was in the drive and Fancy Blue looked to be struggling to pick up Royal Ascot winner Alpine Star.
The pair had a ding-dong tussle all the way to the line, with Boudot galvanizing his mount to lead narrowly at the furlong pole, fending off the fast-finishing challengers that included his father’s Peaceful, who finished just a short-neck off the eventual winner. The step up in distance clearly was the key to Fancy Blue, as she turned around the 1000 Guineas form with Peaceful in no uncertain terms.
Delighted Donnacha In Dreamland
Of his first Classic winner, O’Brien said: “I always knew she was a very good filly and we always thought the step up in trip would suit her. It definitely did“. He continued to say: “The home straight felt like a lifetime, I didn’t really know what was going on. Thankfully at the end of it all she got her head in front. Fair play to Pierre-Charles, he gave her a peach of a ride“.
For many trainers, winning a Classic is the culmination of a life-long dream, which makes O’Brien’s early success such an incredible feat. At just twenty-one, O’Brien’s achievement can be understated and it is very much a case of, if you’re good enough, you’re certainly old enough to make your mark.
A dual Classic winner as a jockey, it looks as though it won’t be long until it equals that feat in the training ranks too.
More To Come From Exciting Fancy Blue
Winning three of her four career starts, including with Donnacha aboard to win her maiden, there is certainly reason for O’Brien to be very excited about this daughter of Deep Impact. Her sole defeat came on return in the Irish 1000 Guineas, where she flew home over a now obviously inadequate mile distance, with her Prix de Diane success coming over ten furlongs.
The way she toughed it out and hit the line suggests she’ll stay an extra two furlongs, which opens up some very interesting options, including the Arc. Ground versatile and beating a Royal Ascot winner to land her first Classic, she’s a horse who can have O’Brien dreaming of even more success.