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By Damian Browne | Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Brownie’s Blog is the weekly personal blog of multiple Group 1 winning jockey Damian Browne. This week Brownie points out why nobody should be surprised that Redzel is back to his best. He gives the amazing stats of trainer Aidan O'Brien to show what an asset the champion trainer is to a race meeting anywhere in the world and he also touches on the sometimes delicate subject of random drug testing of jockeys following the swoop at Eagle Farm last Saturday. This is Brownie's Blog … exclusive to HRO

Seeing Redzel, the dual winner of The Everest, come back to form in such strong fashion last Saturday on his way to a third crack at the $14 million race was no great surprise to those who have had anything to do with the Peter and Paul Snowden stable.

I have always believed they were the best trainers I ever rode for. The knowledge they have of their horses and the way they prime both the condition of their horses and their readiness to compete is out of the top drawer.

The knowledge of their individual horses amazed me.

You could be forgiven for thinking that the detailed knowledge of some horses could get lost in the numbers with trainers who have such big numbers, but that has never been the case with Peter and Paul.

Within reason, given the variables that can affect a horse, they know exactly what they are doing.

I remember when Sepoy was a $1.18 chance in a five-horse field in the Todman in the run leading up to the Golden Slipper. He got beaten by Smart Missile and everybody started panicking and Peter just said, ‘don’t worry about it … he’ll be ready for Golden Slipper day.’

Sure enough, Sepoy came out and won the Golden Slipper with ease, winning by two lengths to pocket the $2 million first prize. That was in 2011. The stable was winning big races before that and have been doing it since. They just do it so often.

Everything they do has got the stamp of a very good training regime.

Like I said, seeing Redzel back on track for a possible Everest three-peat is no surprise.


Talking of good trainers, while nothing is confirmed, there appears to be a very good chance that Aidan O’Brien could well have a runner in The Everest with Ten Sovereigns … the July Cup winner … being sent to Australia as a possible Everest contender with other Melbourne Spring Carnival features also under consideration.

So, what’s the deal about that I hear you ask?

Just this.

By the latest count available, Aidan O’Brien, since he started out in 1993, has won 324 Group 1 races on the flat and 22 Group 1 jumps races.

His Group 1 breakdown is Great Britain 147, Ireland 99, France 45, United States 24, Italy 3, Canada 2, Hong Kong 2, Australia 1 (Adelaide in the Cox Plate) and United Arab Emirates 1,

In all, he has won 737 Group 1, Group 2 and Group 3 races and he has been British Champion trainer six times, Irish Champion trainer 21 times and Champion Trainer at Royal Ascot 10 times.

He is also third in the all-time leading Breeder’s Cup trainers list behind D. Wayne Lukas and Bob Baffert.

Clearly, if you can add O’Brien’s name to any meeting for any race it is a great accomplishment as it adds another whole dimension to that meeting.

I suppose the one thing to note beyond that is that is that our sprinters are generally better than the northern hemisphere sprinters.

They have yet to bring a sprinter that has been really competitive but, if anybody can do it, I sure Aidan can!


In one of my recent blogs I discussed the matter of random drug testing of jockeys.

All jockeys were asked to provide urine samples at Eagle Farm last Saturday.

A lot of jockeys, even ones with no great weight problems, can still sweat throughout a race-day to the point where they dehydrate.

I know myself, when I was riding, it was sometimes seven or eight o’clock at night before I could go to the toilet after the races. With the level of dehydration that occurs on occasions … you know they say you can’t get blood out of a stone … well you can’t get urine out of a dehydrated jockey could become another saying.

As has been documented, a couple of jockeys couldn’t provide a sample on Saturday in spite of being allowed an extended deadline of 7pm. They gave those boys the opportunity to come back the next day with an inquiry to follow. I don’t know the outcome of that inquiry.

It has been an unfortunate sequence of events for those two jockeys but I think it was all handled pretty well under the circumstances.

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Damian Browne
Damian Browne
Aidan O'Brien

Photos: Graham Potter
Aidan O'Brien

Photos: Graham Potter
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