Joseph O’Brien Interview With Racing Post

Motor Mouth

Motor Mouth follows up on his Joseph O’Brien article, talks about the recent Racing Post interview and responds to the divided opinion resulting from his blog post…

Firstly, thank you for the feedback about my post regarding Joseph O’Brien. It is good to have a sensible debate about racing, too many idiots on forums and social media these days who are neither rational or polite so to find a place for intelligent debate is  refreshing. X22 clients are a sensible bunch! There has been a lot of feedback, and I would say 80% agrees with me, 20% disagree.

It is early on Tuesday, I am up early, old habits, I used to go watch the horses work so 5am is what my body clock is set to. I have just had an email from John, who I am sure will not mind me quoting him. He strongly disagrees with me, raising some interesting points, he says;

Motor Mouth’s comments re Joseph O’Brien are ridiculous. The lad’s been around for years now. How many classics and other Group 1s does he have to win before MM concedes that he’s ‘learned his craft’? Does MM really think that O’Brien let his son have top class rides in hugely important races if the lad wasn’t up to it? More importantly, does he think that the owners would allow such a thing to happen?

I stand by every word I said. He is almost the finished  article, but almost is not there! He still has a fair way to go to be the best and the operation he is involved with has the very highest standards, probably the most successful training and breeding operation the sport has ever seen.

I specifically spoke about the rides over the weekend on AUSTRALIA and THE GREY GATSBY. In a Racing Post interview Joseph O’Brien spoke about those races and I will say again he is a fantastic young man, he has been brought up exceptionally well and is very intelligent. He is also a very good jockey, I think his lack of experience is the only thing missing, and that will by definition come.

When asked about Australia, Joseph told the Racing Post…

“It is a pity to ride a horse like Australia and not make the most of him on every occasion that you ride him. You live and learn,”

The Post called that refreshingly honest. Absolutely, that is the mark of a man, no BS, no insulting anyone’s intelligence, hold your hands up, first class, but I would expect nothing less, he is from a first class family!

Speaking about Leading Light he also told it straight and didn’t mince his words…

“Leading Light ran a blinder. We gifted the first two ten lengths. It was as simple as that,”

I have absolute respect for the lad, it takes a proper man to say what he said. As a man he has been taught wonderfully and that job is done, he is a credit to his family and the operation. As a man he is the finished article!

I have never thought any different. I just think that a couple more years, getting experience under his belt would shape him and make him into the finished article as a jockey. As I said previously I think Ryan Moore was the difference in the Champion Stakes, only a small margin, but one that makes a huge difference.

I also got an email from Mary, who I think took my comments to be much harsher than they were. Not for one minute was I saying that he should be sacked, hung drawn and quartered or even vilified. I am of the firm opinion that Joseph O’Brien will be one of the great jockeys of our time, greatness is not only on the track, he has so much ability, he has a superb attitude, my only point is that perhaps when it comes to the very top races, just for the time being he should take a back seat and spend the next couple of years learning, acquiring that extra 1%. He has the potential to be the greatest jockey of our time, because of the horses he will ride. His father for my money is already one of the best ever and on his way to being the greatest of all time.

Ryan Moore is in my opinion the best jockey in the world. He is also a first class professional with a fabulous attitude and dedication. He and Joseph O’Brien have that aura, the true class that sets them apart. The key difference is that right now Moore is the complete package. He has honed his craft and is the better of the two, not by a huge margin, but enough to make a big difference.

I agree with what John says that Joseph is a top class jockey, no question. To have that ability so young sets him apart. I do disagree about the been around for years, in 2010 he won the apprentice title, in 2012 he rode Camelot to win the Derby and he is still only 21. He has achieved a lot, John is right, but it all adds up to 4 years. He is almost there, just not quite there yet!

Look, we all make mistakes. God I am the master of that particular skill. In any other operation, probably in the world, that would be enough. In my view Ballydoyle could get a double wammy by bringing in Ryan Moore for a couple of years to make the difference in races like we saw at the weekend with the added benefit that Joseph would learn from someone who is  at where Joseph will be in time. It would also take the pressure off one so young, pressure that could actually do more harm than good.  That 1% that is not quite there yet was the difference in two group one races at the weekend.

Ryan Moore is 30 years old. He is at his peak, Joseph is 21. I agree that if you are good enough you are old enough, but my view is that with a couple more years Joseph O’Brien will be every bit as good, if not better than Ryan Moore. Being better that Ryan Moore would make him one of the best of all time!

Look guys, that is just my view, for what it is worth! The reality is that it isn’t worth that much. It is down to the Ballydoyle operation and John is absolutely right, the owners are the ones who matter. I would point out that they are exceptionally loyal to Aidan O’Brien and will back his judgement, he has earned that! They are also exceptionally astute businessmen and without doubt they have an exceptional talent on their hands. It is for them to do as they wish, mine is just a personal view.

I hold them in the very highest regard and my view is put forward because I would like to see Joseph O’Brien mature and be the very best there is!

The counter view to my suggestion is exactly as Joseph says above, You live and learn. One thing is without question, he is very bright and will learn from this, no question.

I know he will be a great jockey! I want him to be a great jockey!

Leading Light and Australia Given Poor Rides

Motor Mouth

Motor Mouth is not happy with the ride given to Leading Light in the Irish St Leger. He pulls no punches as he revs up the motor mouth…

I have been in this game for more years than I care to remember. I take it on the chin when I lose. I had a really good bet on COTAI GLORY at Doncaster on Friday, 6/1 and the jockey fell off yards fro the line. Sure I was gutted, but annoyed, no, Jesus he didn’t jump off it or do it on purpose. I was just happy George Baker was OK. If you can’t take things like that then this is the wrong game, it is part and parcel of racing and betting. It cost me big time, but the only blame lays with Lady Luck.

The Irish Leger, in contrast is a race I had NO INTEREST IN, financially. So before the usual pocket talk emails come in, I had NO BET in the race and I had no bet in the Irish Champion Stakes either. I am calling it as I see it, and this post is not motivated by losses.

I am going to make a statement now that may come over as harsh on the face of it, but it has to be said and I will qualify it now by accepting 100% that it is nothing to do with me and the connections can do what they want! So here is comes….

“I don’t think Joseph O’Brien is Ready for The Top Job at Balllydoyle- YET”

Notice I am not using inflammatory terminology, I am trying to be objective here. He will be a great jockey, he has so much potential, but he lacks experience. For me he needs to get experience and work his way up, he has been thrown in at the deep end and is showing his lack of experience and in my view losing races that should have been won, simply through lack of experience.

Ryan Moore wins on The Grey Gatsby

Ryan Moore wins on The Grey Gatsby

On Saturday the Irish Champion Stakes saw Australia beaten, the Grey Gatsby overturning the York form. It is my view that Ryan Moore made the difference. Moore is a master horseman who has worked his way to the top. He has natural ability, but that only goes so far. In races like the Champion Stakes the margins between winning and losing are minute. The value to an operation like Coolmore is worth millions!

There are plenty of idiots who trot out the insults, I am trying to be sensible about it. Aidan O’Brien is a trainer and a Father. I have a son, no one can say anything against my son, I won’t allow it. I can understand Aidan O’Brien 100%. There is no doubt in time Joseph will be a great jockey. Yes he has won classics, the jockey’s title, but he is in a position where that is not in any way surprising, in fact it would be more so had he not! I am talking about the difference between being very good and being the best! In my view Ryan Moore is the best there is right now, the difference in my book is he has worked his way to the top and riding those 55 rated horses round Brighton one day and Catterick the next has shaped him, complementing raw talent with experience. The difference may be 1% but that was enough to make the difference on the Grey Gatsby.

If it was me, and I will say yet again, it isn’t it won’t ever be, and my view means diddly squat, other than I have the right to voice it, I would have signed up Ryan Moore and made sure Joseph learned as much over the subsequent 2 or 3 years. This is not a small family business, this is a multimillion pound operation.

Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United was realistic about his son Darren. I think it is the same here, but the difference is Joseph is good enough, he just needs more experience. Bringing in Ryan Moore for the big ones would also take the pressure off. Coolmore are in the fortunate position that they can sign whoever they want. It is not just money, they have horses any jockey in the world would want to ride!

The Grey Gatsby race is open to much debate, my view is Moore made the difference, others may have a different view. Fair enough.


However, the performance on LEADING LIGHT on Sunday can not be open to any debate, well not reasonable debate anyway. Kingscote should have worn a Dick Turpin mask such was the daylight robbery he perpetrated at The Curragh! The irony is the Ballydoyle pacemaker set it up for Brown Panther.

I have no idea what they were thinking in behind. Brown Panther was always going to stay, the time wasn’t world record pace, the rest of them badly misjudged the pace and gifted the race to the winner. Full marks to Richard Kingscote. He won, but Leading Light is the better horse every day of the week and the form book tells you that, no debate.

There can be no debate that Joseph O’Brien showed lack of experience there. Leading Light was never put in the race. The Pacemaker was there but made the pace for the winner, what was the purpose of all that? It looked bad, it was bad, the race was falsely run.

I would hope that Jospeh O’Brien gets the experience to make him fulfil his potential, but there is a danger that he could be adversely affected with so much pressure and criticism that will follow such a high profile team!

My personal view is he needs to learn to judge pace better, I think he gives them too much to do! I hope this article is read as constructive and not the usual disparaging bile posted by many on the internet!

Aidan O’Brien is the best trainer I have seen in my life, after Roger Charlton of course, and I have total respect for him. He is also a Father and I can see where he is coming from. I just think he would be doing right by Joseph to get him to be the best by learning from the best!

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