Former rider O'Regan plays key part in Winter success
There was a surprise name among the team key to Winter’s Classic success with former conditional rider Diarmuid O’Regan the man responsible for riding the daughter of Galileo on a daily basis.
O’Regan, brother to jumps rider Denis, joined the Ballydoyle team four months ago after suffering a heavy fall at Haydock in March last year, when the rider broke his collarbone, nose and a couple of ribs.
Winning rider Wayne Lordan has ridden Winter in all her work at home, but it is O'Regan who has partnered the filly most mornings with groom Paul Webster looking after the 1,000 Guineas scorer.
O’Regan, 26, said: “It’s a great place to work and to be riding a horse of her quality every day is fantastic. She’s a very straightforward filly with a big stride and she’s so easy to deal with.
“We thought she had improved significantly for her reappearance but at face value Rhododendron brought the best form to the race.
“Everything had been going right for Winter at home though and she’s proven here she’s up with the best of them.”
O’Brien, who revealed Phoenix Stakes winner Caravaggio is likely to swerve the French 2,000 Guineas in favour of a sprint assignment – the Lacken Stakes at Naas – believes O’Regan is “a massive asset”.
He said: “Diarmuid has done a great job with her – he’s a great rider and a massive asset to us. It’s vital to get staff of Diarmuid’s calibre, it’s always a big team effort with every winner and we’re delighted we all play a part.”