top trainer dies

IRISH racehorse trainer Vincent O'Brien died on Monday after a 51-year career in which he won 16 English and 27 Irish classics. O'Brien was 92.

IRISH racehorse trainer Vincent O'Brien died on Monday after a 51-year career in which he won 16 English and 27 Irish classics. O'Brien was 92.

His family said O'Brien, who also had 25 victories at Royal Ascot and 23 wins at the Cheltenham Festival, died at his home in Straffan in County Kildare.

Breeders' Cup president Greg Avioli lauded O'Brien for his "deep and profound impact" on racing.

"His career was extraordinary and he set a standard of international excellence that will be rarely equalled," Avioli said.

O'Brien retired from training in 1994 and had been spending his winters in Perth, Australia.

He began training in 1943 and masterminded the career of three-time Champion Hurdle winner Hatton's Grace. He bought the Ballydoyle yard in 1951 and won three straight Grand National steeplechases from 1953-55 with Early Mist, Royal Tan and Quare Times.

O'Brien later switched to flat racing and trained Nijinsky, Sir Ivor, Alleged, Sadler's Wells, Golden Fleece, The Minstrel, El Gran Senor, Ballymoss and Roberto.

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

O'Brien's funeral will take place tomorrow St Conleth's Church in Newbridge, Country Kildare.

O'Brien was the original purchaser of Coolmore Stud, later recruiting John Magnier to run the farm. Owner-investor Robert Sangster then came in to seal Coolmore's world reputation.

"Dad's racing career speaks for itself and needs no elaboration," O'Brien's daughter, Sue Magnier, and husband John and their family said in a statement. "There was nobody like him." - Sapa-AP

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