Strange times for rookie trainer O’brien as debut season takes unexpected twist

Nothing is normal anymore. Everything seems bizarre, but it was always going to be bizarre for 21-year-old Donnacha O’Brien who is getting to grips with his first season as a fully-fledged trainer. 

O’Brien had been hoping to get some of his forward juveniles out in the coming weeks, but he has had to be patient and back off them in the current climate. Plans for his undefeated stable star Fancy Blue are up in the air too. 

“It is strange, very strange. But, to be perfectly honest, everything was always going to be strange for me. I’m not doing anything I did last year so it’s all strange to me anyway,” admitted O’Brien.

The youngest of the famous O’Brien family trained his first official winner at Dundalk in February when Flower Garland won a fillies’ maiden, and Mythologic doubled his account in a mile handicap at the same venue a couple weeks ago.

The floodgates were supposed to open but Covid-19 has closed them for the time being.

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O’Brien said: “My routine and the whole routine of everybody here has stayed the same through all this. From my point of view I’m up at 5.30am and straight to the yard. We finish up riding out at around 12.30pm and grab some lunch. Back to work then and I would usually be finished up by around 3pm. It’s the same every day for me. Nothing has changed.

The nicest of his entire lot at the moment is definitely Fancy Blue, the undefeated daughter of Deep Impact who is entered in the Qipco 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket on the first Sunday of May.

Speaking about the filly, O’Brien stated: “Fancy Blue is in great form. She’s done very well over the winter and got a lot stronger. I wouldn’t say she’s grown a lot but she has filled out a lot if that makes sense. Her work was really good, but I’ve backed off her a bit leading up to the last few week.

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