The Racing Post in 2003 had a distinguished panel of 45 experts choose the top twelve individuals in the annals of British racing going back 350 years.   The public was then asked to cast their votes among these twelve to select their order of importance.   Vincent O’Brien came out number one with 28 percent of the total vote, followed by his main jockey Lester Piggott.   Three years earlier, the Racing Post had selected Mr. O’Brien as the best flat-race trainer of the 20th century and also as the leading jump-race trainer.   The publication called him “the greatest of the great.”   Looking at his record, this was not hyperbole.

In 2006, I stayed at the Cashel Palace Hotel in Cashel, County Tipperary, Ireland, while on a visit to Coolmore in nearby Fethard.   The hotel has a Vincent O’Brien room in honor of the acclaimed trainer.   During my stay, I went to a local bookstore in Cashel and purchased a copy of Vincent O’Brien, The Official Biography by Jacqueline O’Brien, Vincent’s wife, and Ivor Herbert.   The salesperson at the bookstore looked at my selection and began to comment on what a high-class person Vincent O’Brien is and how much he had meant to Ireland.   The thing that I remember most is that she did not tell me of his outstanding accomplishments, but rather, she commented on his sterling character and his modesty in spite of fame.   The legend known as “The Boss” was her friend.

May he rest in peace.


  1. The Lasting Tribute website has updated its memorial pages to include Vincent O’Brien.

    It’s a respectful memorial to him and somewhere to pay tribute to the family’s fortitude at this difficult time.

    EVERY comment is monitored so that nothing offensive or inappropriate is published.