Donnacha O’Brien is hoping to top a breakthrough season with a first career victory at Royal Ascot.
The 19-year-old son of trainer Aidan O’Brien has enjoyed a brilliant start to 2018, opening his classic account in the 2000 Guineas on Saxon Warrior and the Oaks on Forever Together.
The young jockey went close at the Royal meeting last year when second on the 66/1 outsider Spirit Of Valor in the Jersey Stakes.
“Ascot is the biggest meeting we have in this part of the world for Flat racing,” O’Brien told The Irish Times. It would be special to get a winner there. I got close last year. But I don’t know yet what I’m riding or how many rides I’ll get.”
O’Brien was cut to odds-on favourite to be champion jockey in Ireland at the weekend after taking his domestic tally to 29 to give him a narrow lead over titleholder Colin Keane.
“I think it’s a massive task to win it and I think it’s unlikely. But obviously I’m going to try and ride as many winners as I can regardless of the championship and see where I am closer to the time,” said O’Brien.
“I’m in front at the minute but in another week I could be five winners behind. It changes so quickly and there’s still a long way to go. A lot of the winners at the moment are in maidens which will obviously slow down as the season goes on. Some of the other riders will be able to ride a lot more in handicaps so I need to be doing well at this time of year.”
READ THE BIG INTERVIEW WITH DONNACHA O'BRIEN IN THE IRISH FIELD NEXT WEEKEND