I was never around while he was training but my grandad always told me lots of storys as a kid of how good Vincent was, I actually had the pleasure of meeting him one day at The Curragh a couple of years ago, he was a very nice man and had time for everyone. He started everything at Coolmore and if it wasnt for him they wouldnt be anywhere near where they are today, its amazing he was voted top flat trainer, national hunt trainer and top trainer of all time in the Racing Post - he was that special.
If anyone in the area would like to pay their respects the removal is arriving at St Conleth's Church Newbridge Co. Kildare at 6pm on Wednesday, I'm not quite sure if its open to everyone but I'm sure there'll be a Mass or part of the church of some sort open and the Funeral Mass on Thursday at 12 noon, and thats strictly private. Of course everyones thoughts are with his wife Jacqueline and the rest of the family.
He really was a legend, and will never be forgotten in horse racing. It was nice touch at Naas yesterday after the most perfectly observed minutes silence a round of applause broke out all over the packed course on a bank holiday weekend, I've never seen anything like it, it made the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. It was also fitting that a Coolmore horse would win the very next race.
Vincent O'Brien Factfile:
Name : Michael Vincent O'Brien.
Born : Good Friday, April 9th, 1917 in Churchtown, Co Cork.
First winner : Oversway, Limerick Junction, May 20th, 1943.
Final winner : Mysterious Ways, Curragh, September 17th, 1994.
Total winners in Ireland : 1,529.
Champion trainer in Ireland : 1959, 1969, 1970, 1972, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1984, 1988, 1989.
Champion NH trainer in Britain : 1952-53 & 1953-54.
Champion flat trainer in Britain : 1966 & 1977.
Irish Classics : 2,000 Guineas ( 5); 1,000 Guineas (3); Derby (6); Oaks (4); St Leger (9).
British Classics : 2,000 Guineas (4); 1,000 Guineas (1); Derby (6) Oaks (2); St Leger (3).
Major International Victories : Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (3); French Derby (1); Washington DC I'ntl (1); Breeders' Cup Mile (1); Major NH wins: Aintree Grand National (3); Cheltenham Gold Cup (4); Champion Hurdle (3); Irish Grand National (1); King George VI (1).
Honours : Honorary doctorates from the National University of Ireland and Ulster University.