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Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Remembering O'Brien on 100th anniversary of his birth

Brightening your day with turf tales from beyond the tracks

Vincent O'Brien: the legendary trainer was born 100 years ago on Sunday
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Sunday marks 100 years since Vincent O’Brien was born, and his son, trainer Charles, kindly provided a selection of pictures to commemorate the day.

O’Brien, a revolutionary among the racing ranks, is best remembered for his role in founding the leviathan Coolmore/Ballydoyle operation – but on this particular weekend it is apt to look back on his career in the National Hunt sphere. O’Brien won the Grand National three times in three years with the trio Early Mist, Royal Tan and Quare Times, having already won the Gold Cup three times with Cottage Rake.

In 1953 Knock Hard became his second Gold Cup winner and one of the pictures is of him riding the horse’s donkey companion at home. He is also pictured after a successful day’s fishing in the Blackwater river with his brother Phonsie.

Sutherland signed as global ambassador

World-renowned rider Chantal Sutherland was unveiled as the latest ambassador for the Sheikh Mansoor Festival during a celebration of purebred Arabian racing in Los Angeles last Sunday evening.

Amid the Gala dinner and Arabian stallion auction – which raised just shy of $100,000 for charity – came the news that multiple Grade 1-winning jockey Sutherland will join UAE champion Richie Mullen, history-making Hall Of Famer Julie Krone and Xavier Ziani in the role of promoting the festival and the wider sport. They will also play a crucial role in mentoring young and aspiring riders.

Chantal Sutherland: new Arab racing ambassador

Lara Sawaya, the executive director of HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, chairwoman of the International Federation of Horse Racing Academies (IFHRA) and chairwoman of the ladies’ and apprentice racing committees in the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR), said: “This is a very special announcement. We want to thank our fourth ambassador for the Sheikh Mansoor Festival – Chantal Sutherland. She will join the ambassadors for the year 2017 and beyond, and we are proud to have her.”

Sutherland said: “This is an honour for me, and a privilege to be part of the Sheikh Mansoor Festival.”

Nothing says congrats like a soaking . . .

For jockey, the day you ride your first winner is always a memorable one.

It certainly was for Billy Garritty, younger brother of Jack and son of festival-winning jockey Russ, at the point-to-point on trainer Mick Easterby’s land at Sheriff Hutton last Sunday.

He rode his first winner on Not Far Wrong for owner-trainer Andy Nicholls, who as a thank you for his efforts promptly threw a bucket of water over him. Luckily it was a warm day,

However, earlier in the afternoon young Garritty had suffered a jockey’s nightmare as he had ridden a finish a circuit too soon. Instead of a winner, he was given a fine and a warning by the stewards.

In case you missed it . . .

Frankel gives his new stamp the seal of approval

Some people weren’t too impressed with the choice of horses for Royal Mail’s new legends collection – including the Post’s own John Randall – but Frankel seemed fairly pleased with his!

News flash

Racing bade farewell to 2010 Gold Cup winner Imperial Commander this week. The 16-year-old died at his retirement home Mount Top Stud. Trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, he won eight of his 22 races and more than £700,000 in prize-money. In the same week, Twiston-Davies’s son Sam paid tribute to Silviniaco Conti, the dual King George winner who was retired after his final outing at Aintree . . .

Lizzie Kelly added to her Grade 1 haul when partnering Tea For Two to victory in the Betway Bowl over fan favourite Cue Card . . .

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On this particular weekend it is apt to look back on his career in the National Hunt sphere

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