Five incredible training feats after Arc de Triomphe clean sweep by Aidan O’Brien
David Metcalf | October 3, 2016
Five incredible training feats after O’Brien’s Arc
Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien earned himself a place in the record books when saddling the first three home in this year’s Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly.
Found stormed clear to beat Highland Reel and Order Of St George in the Group 1 showpiece, with the Ballydoyle handler describing it as the greatest achievement of his career.
To saddle the first three home, from three runners, in Europe’s premier middle-distance race is an astonishing achievement and one which has ensured O’Brien a place in the history.
Here, Coral look at another five incredible training feats which will never be forgotten…
Michael Dickinson’s Cheltenham Gold Cup famous five
The Cheltenham Gold Cup has thrown up many great feats over the years, but none more so than the 1983 renewal when Michael Dickinson trained the first five home in National Hunt racing’s premier event.
Dickinson was only 33 at the time, and in just his third season as a trainer after taking over the reins from his parents Tony and Monica at their stables in Harewood, Yorkshire.
Getting five horses fit and ready to race in the showpiece event was an amazing achievement in its own right, and Dickinson admitted after the race that the worry of doing so had caused him to lose a stone in weight.
But, after briefing him team of jockeys and planning out meticulously how the horses would be ridden, Dickinson achieved something truly out of the ordinary that will almost certainly never be done again.
Bregawn beat Captain John by five lengths, Wayward Lad was one-and-a-half lengths further away in third, and Silver Buck a remote fourth.
It was then left to Ashley House to stay on gamely up the famous Cheltenham hill to pass Combs Ditch and secure fifth spot in the most remarkable outcome of a Gold Cup ever witnessed.
Three consecutive Grad Nationals for Vincent O’Brien
Irish handler Vincent O’Brien is widely regarded as one of the greatest trainers of all-time and saddled top class winners both on the flat and over the jumps.
He was a genius at getting horses right for the big day and saddled three consecutive winners of the Grand National in the 1950s.
Early Mist got the ball rolling when landing the Aintree spectacular in 1953, and 12 months later stable companion Royal Tan carried the same colours of owner Joe Griffin to victory.
It was then left to nine-year-old Quare Times to complete the incredible hat-trick under jockey Pat Taaffe in 1955.
To win the world’s greatest steeplechase is every trainer’s dream, and as well as the right horse a huge slice of luck is needed.
What O’Brien achieved in saddling three different horses to land the stamina sapping contest is truly outstanding feat and worthy of special recognition.
Nicky Henderson’s Champion hurdler See You Then
See You Then was brilliant but fragile, and became the fourth horse to win three consecutive Champion Hurdles when landing the 1987 running of the 2m showpiece at the Cheltenham Festival.
He was bred to be a Group horse on the flat, but excelled over hurdles under the care of trainer Nicky Henderson.
The gelding provided the Seven Barrows handler with his first ever-winner at the Festival, possessing a high cruising speed and potent turn of foot.
However, See You Then also had legs of glass and was superbly handled by Henderson to be spot on for each of his Champion Hurdle successes.
The horse would only have one or two races a season, and Henderson once joked that he was known as “See You When “rather than See You Then.
It was his Champion Hurdle win in 1987, after one of his feet became inflamed close to the race, which was rated his best.
Tom Dreaper’s Irish Grand National domination
Tom Dreaper will forever be remembered as the trainer of Arkle, the greatest steeplechaser of all time.
The Anne, Duchess Of Westminster owned gelding landed a hat-trick in the Cheltenham Gold Cup between 1964 and 1966, and among his numerous other top class successes was victory in the 1964 Irish Grand National.
Dreaper won the Fairyhouse showpiece 10 times in total and, although that is incredible in itself, it does not tell the whole story.
County Meath born handler Dreaper saddled seven consecutive winners of the race courtesy of Olympia (1960), Fortria (1961), Kerforo (1962), Last Link (1963), Arkle (1964), Splash (1965), and Flyingbolt (1966).
To completely dominate such a competitive 3m 5f staying contest for a sustained period of time is unheard of, but Dreaper somehow managed to achieve the impossible.
Arkle shouldered 12st to victory and the brilliant Flyingbolt carried the welter burden of 12st 7lb when landing the spoils.
They were two of the greatest steeplechases ever seen and Dreaper was undoubtedly one of the greatest trainers.
Ginger McCain and Red Rum
When trainer Ginger McCain persuaded owner Noel Le Mare to part with £6k for a horse by the name of Red Rum, he could never of dreamed what magical moments lay ahead.
After he was discovered to be lame as a novice chaser, McCain sent him to the seaside at Southport and got him sound again and back on track.
The horse affectionately known as Rummy was to become a hero to racegoers and once-a-year punters with his extraordinary exploits in the world’s greatest steeplechase, the Grand National.
After coming with a storming run to overhaul the exhausted top-weight Crisp in the final strides of the Aintree spectacular in 1973, Rummy was once again tuned to the minute by his handler to follow-up in 1974.
He was then a gallant runner-up in the following two years before capturing a historic third victory in 1977.
Rummy may not have been the he classiest racehorse, but he came alive at the Merseyside venue and made the Grand National his own.
A legendary horse that trained by an equally iconic trainer, the exploits of McCain and Rummy will never be forgotten or surpassed.
You’ll find more trivia articles in Coral’s dedicated section.