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Forward-thinking trainer Fergal O’Brien is now targeting next winner

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: April 20, 2014

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Visitors to Cilldara Stud shouldn’t go there expecting to find Fergal O’Brien with his feet up in front of the television watching replays of his horses winning races.

He is enjoying the best season of his career with 44 winners – the latest with Me And Ben at Cheltenham on Thursday – as well as saddling Alvarado to finish fourth in the Grand National.

But rather than bask in past glories, O’Brien prefers to put his efforts into bringing more success to his Fossebridge HQ, which he rents from top jockey Timmy Murphy.

“I think it’s different when you’re in it,” he said. “I don’t look back that much and I think, ‘Great, we’ve had 44 winners’, and pat myself on the back.

“You’re always worried about where the next winner is coming from, and you’re always trying to go forward all the time.

“I always enjoy the winners at the time and we try to make the most of it and go out and one thing or another, but day to day you’re always worried about where the next one is coming from.

“I watched Alvarado’s race at Aintree couple of times the day after but I wouldn’t have seen it since, and I haven’t watched Alvarado and The Govaness’ wins at Cheltenham in November since.

“I’m more likely to watch the ones that have run badly than watch a winner again.

“A winner is done and you enjoy it at the time, whereas with a horse that’s run badly you’re looking for reasons why and how they might do better next time.”

O’Brien started today having won nearly £350,000 in prize-money – more than double last year’s haul.

As he approaches the end of his third season as a trainer next Saturday, O’Brien said learning how to get the best out of the facilities at Cilldara Stud had helped lay the foundations for his success.

“I think we’ve learned a bit more about our gallop and how important our grass gallop is to us,” he said.

“When we can’t use our grass gallop we struggle to get a handle on them. The grass gallop is really good here.

“I’m very lucky that I’ve got patient owners and the horses are starting to come right now and it’s paying dividends.”

Looking ahead, he said: “We’ve just got to keep on trying to have winners, that’s the long and the short of it.

“The ones that have done well, we’ve got to try and keep them winning, and the ones that haven’t won, we should try and get them to win. There’s a race for everything.”

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