SAXON WARRIOR battled to Racing Post Trophy glory to give Aidan O’Brien a record-breaking 26th Group 1 winner of the year.
The hard-fought neck defeat of Roaring Lion in Doncaster’s two-year-old thriller edged the champion trainer ahead of American trainer Bobby Frankel’s worldwide.
It became a matter of when, not if, he would grab the record when Hydrangea struck on Champions’ Day at Ascot last Saturday.
O’Brien said: “I’m delighted and delighted for everybody. There’s a lot of hard work put in by a lot of people in Ballydoyle and Coolmore.
“It’s unbelievable really. There are so many people who put in so much hard work day in, day out. If I start mentioning people, I’d forget somebody. They know who they are.
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“It’s a privilege to be working with such special people. We’re in a very lucky position and we’re a small link in a big chain.”
Modest O’Brien always claims he’s just a small cog in the well-oiled winning machine.
That’s clearly far from the truth for a man many would consider a genius but he hits the nail close to its head when he says it’s a team effort.
Ryan Moore has to take a slice of the credit. He was in the saddle for 19 of the 26 victories – including today’s record-breaker on Saxon Warrior.
But it’s the all-powerful Coolmore breeding operation that holds the key.
The ammunition it gives O’Brien to fire is the envy of the world with one crucial player at the heart of it.
Super stallion Galileo has sired 17 of the 26 Group 1 winners. Of the other nine victories, six came from horses out of Galileo mares.
It’s been a phenomenal season for O’Brien even by his own peerless standards.
Only star filly Enable stopped an O’Brien clean-sweep of the 10 Classics in Britain and Ireland.
And the relentless nature of the Ballydoyle operation means it’s not impossible O’Brien could match – or even better – the record tally next year.
He trained the first four home in the Dewhurst two weeks ago. Today, Saxon Warrior leapt towards the top of the Classic crew.
Sun Bets made him their 6-1 favourite for the Derby and cut him to 14-1 for the 2000 Guineas.