I haven’t blogged in a while. Not for any real reason. Circling around talking about the same bunch of horses and their chances or lack thereof is only of so much interest. The year has gone OK. I was thrilled with things to April end but we’ve been a bit stale since. It would be nice to be making more of an impact especially with our flat horses but plenty have been running well and they may or may not get their chance yet. A small yard like ours doesn’t need many flag bearers to be flying but things can be quiet enough in the absence of one. One will come through, always does. The National Hunt horses have been a lovely addition and with the exception of Abstract everything we have ran this year has been competitive. Long may it last. I just love training horses, be they flat or national hunt. Watching horses develop and thrive and push themselves up to being competitive is something I could never tire of. I hope people are keeping us in mind expecially for the store/bumper type horse. I think they’re ones we can do well with. Staff continues to be a right headache and trying to get a work permit for foreign nationals is the most extraordinarily costly and convoluted process that it is proving impossible. Someone needs to step up and help with this. We need staff. This is a small business, I need help, I need to get out of the yard, meet people, grow my business and give myself a chance. It’s the biggest obstacle to growth. The bigger yards are managing. Smaller outfits pay just as well, if not better but we’re not going to get the youngsters with a burgeoning riding career and the youngsters with a love for horses and the lifestyle are going to choose Gordon or Willie or Joseph. We have got to be allowed access the international market. I get several emails a week. Former jockeys, current jockeys and the like looking for work. Getting them a work permit is not impossible but as close as makes no difference. I’ve a feeling the IHRB have made some pretty telling inroads on the back of Mr Bolger’s grenades last backend. I think things are better and will continue to improve.   There’s been a lot of chatter about small trainers getting steamrolled by the super sized outfits. Some have suggested limiting the numbers trained by any one outfit. That shouldn’t even be discussed because it’s never going to happen. Not in this country and as a small outfit I’ve no desire to see it happen. If I can’t compete from here then I don’t think I can blame anyone but yours truly. Gordon was here, Ger was here and plenty others. They got where they are now and it’s very impressive but it was on the back of results and sustained results. What I do think should happen is we should be given the opportunity to be compared properly to the bigger outfits. I’ve put about 25 horses through my place this year, some have been sold, some retired, rehomed through injury or lack of ability. Every one of those had humble enough profiles from birth or before joining me as 2nd hand horses and one is on the back foot with them. You’re trying to develop a career for them and exhort them to do something and occasionally it works and occasionally you land on a nice horse. You run them in the hope they can find their feet and occasionally they do but often they’re at the pin of their collar from the get go and they find it difficult to hold their form or make the breakthrough. Now if I’m being compared to an outfit that has had over a 130 horses through their gates and with 6 figure price tags and a huge strike rate them I think that should be out in the open. If I can’t compete in that instance then fair enough. Every horse that steps in to a training yard should be recorded and published. Compare like with like. A bloodstock agent, a racing manager or an owner could look at those figures and conclude that Richard John O’Brien should have stuck to dentistry. The numbers going through those big yards would make your eyes water. It may be the case that when everything is distilled down one is still behind them. Maybe not. We’re small but have all the facilities and there are plenty yards like us. There’s no point in emphasising what we have or haven’t achieved, those that matter know or they should. I do think that there are advantages to having horses trained in smaller outfits but they’re mainly owner related. The experience has to be better. The access to the trainer, the staff, the horse. The input and the involvement has to be greater with the trainer of 40 horses than he or she of 200 horses. Don’t limit their numbers, just publish the data. A free market is the one that appeals to me. Preventing Irish trained low grade handicappers competing in the UK is the behaviour of a spoiled child. Let everyone join in, sink or swim then. The Irish rule discouraging those related below 60 coming here should be scrapped aswell. Bring ’em on over for a 25 runner affair in Cork with a prize fund of about €6.5k to the winner. 😁  

2017 Richard O'Brien Racing Limited