Joseph O’Brien is quite simply the highest achieving 24-year-old in the history of horse racing. As a jockey, he rode no less than 31 Group/Grade 1 winners around the world including two renewals of the Derby at Epsom. Unfortunately, his tall frame was always going to make his life difficult and after years of struggling with his weight, the scales won the battle and O’Brien retired from race-riding at the age of just 22.
However, by that time Joseph had already been playing a leading role as a trainer under the name of his father Aidan O’Brien for a number of years. Having taken out his own trainer’s license just months after his retirement from riding in June 2016, he has quickly established himself as one of the leading trainers in the country. He has already saddled the winner of the Galway Hurdle, the Moyglare Stud Stakes and most memorably the Melbourne Cup and is currently in the top five in both the Flat and National Hunt trainer’s tables in Ireland.
Despite his hectic schedule, Joseph took time out to chat to Matchbook’s Emmet Kennedy about his career, what makes him tick and his life outside of racing.