Ex-trainer Vincent O'Brien dies

Vincent O'Brien, perhaps the greatest trainer of all time, died earlier today, aged 92, at his home in Straffan, Co Kildare, Ireland.

O'Brien secured 16 English and 27 Irish Classic victories, 25 Royal Ascot wins and 23 Cheltenham Festival successes during an amazing career which spanned 51 years.

He retired from training in October 1994 and had been spending his winters in Perth, Australia.

O'Brien began training in 1943 and quickly graduated from winning moderate races to sending out the likes of Cottage Rake to win the Irish Cesarewitch, the Leopardstown Chase, the King George VI Chase and three Cheltenham Gold Cups.

The trainer also masterminded the career of triple Champion Hurdle winner Hatton's Grace before buying the Ballydoyle yard in 1951 from where he sent out Early Mist, Royal Tan and Quare Times to win consecutive Grand Nationals.

However, O'Brien eventually switched his attention to the Flat and handled the likes of Nijinsky, Sir Ivor, Alleged, Sadler's Wells, Golden Fleece, The Minstrel, El Gran Senor, Ballymoss and Roberto during his stellar career.

O'Brien was also the original purchaser of Coolmore Stud and he set the wheels in motion for their worldwide breeding operation when he recruited John Magnier to run the farm.

The later recruitment of owner-investor Robert Sangster sealed Coolmore's place as one of the world's most important stallion stations.

O'Brien is survived by wife Jacqueline and five children including David, who trained the Derby winner Secreto and now lives in Perth, and Charles, who trains in Ireland.