O'Brien backs barrier trials at Dundalk and hopes the idea will continue to grow
Joseph O’Brien has given his full support to the barrier trials that have been introduced at Dundalk and said there could be scope for the initiative to grow beyond the County Louth track.
O'Brien, the leading trainer at the course last winter, will have runners in the two barrier trials that take place before racing on Sunday and said he would continue to support the concept through its development stage.
He said: “It's a fantastic idea – a great initiative – and I'm a big fan of it. I think and I hope that they'll be well supported and I know I have more horses that I would aim at these trials.
“I've a few horses going for the barrier trials at Dundalk on Sunday and I'm really looking forward to it.”
Barrier trials, where horses start from stalls in mock races over a specified distance, are widely used in other jurisdictions such as Australia and Hong Kong. They are designed to give young horses racing experience and develop fitness. There is no incentive for finishing first as there is no prize-money on offer.
O’Brien added: “I don't see any reason why some of the turf tracks couldn't hold barrier trials as the season goes on.
“Not only would they be beneficial for getting some experience into two-year-olds, but I think they'd work well for older horses, bringing along their fitness. I'd be all for growing the idea of barrier trials in Ireland.”
Dermot Weld and Jessica Harrington also have runners in Sunday’s barrier trial races.
The first trial will take place 90 minutes before the first race with the second going off 15 minutes later.
The trials will be recorded, timed and available to view on ITM’s website and social media channels.
Entries for trials can be made through the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing website, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, trainers can call 087 112 1625.
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