Joseph still hopes that seven times race winner Le Richebourg will be back in action in time for some of the major Festivals in spring.
The exciting son of Network was a dual Grade One-winning novice chaser, but he has not been seen in action since February 2019 when winning the Frank Ward Solicitors Arkle Nov. S´chase .
Joseph had Le Richebourg ready to run over Christmas only for another injury issue to arise, and attention has therefore had to switch to the end of the season, with the worry that the Cheltenham festival will come too soon.
Joseph said “Le Richebourg was due to run on New Year’s Eve, but he had another little setback, He’s in training, and there’s a chance he might make some of the Festivals in the spring. With Cheltenham being the first of them, that would be less likely than the others.”
No Nay Never Colt Never Before won the Fundraise At Dundalk Stadium Maiden under Mikey Sheehy completing a double for his trainer Joseph O’Brien after his earlier success with Calidus Mirabilis.
Never Before was prominent and led after 1 ½ furlongs, he travelled well 2 furlongs out, he was pushed out and kept on well inside final furlong going on to win by 1.5 lengths.
The time was 1m. 26.97 secs, which is 1.29 secs slower than the course average.
Joseph’s assistant Brendan Powell commented “he'd been running consistent all year. I think from that draw (12), he just wanted to be handy. The idea wasn't to make it, but Mikey said he found himself there. He sat in front, the horse has experience and I think the second horse (Comradery) is probably very nice. He's galloped the whole way to the line and it's just nice to get his head in front. We've got a good bunch of young lads down there now and Joseph is giving them all chances. Their claims are valuable, and it makes a big difference.”
Hot Streak Gelding Calidus Mirabilis won the View Restaurant January Special Handicap to deny Joseph’s brother Donnacha his first win as a trainer when holding off the challenge of Flower Garland.
He was prominent and led after 1 furlong, he was pushed along early in the straight and was soon ridden, he edged right over 1 furlong out, he was put under pressure by the 2nd and kept on inside final furlong, held on well to win by a neck.
The time 1m. 40.04 secs, which is 1.41 secs slower than the course average.
Winning trainer Joseph O'Brien was represented by his assistant Brendan Powell who later quipped “he had to go and beat his brother! Alan (Persse, winning jockey) has given him a lovely ride because there wasn't much pace. He wanted to be handy and he's let him do his own thing. The horse stays and he'll stay a bit further than this (mile). He had no weight on his back and I think when he kicked turning in it probably won him the race as it was hard to peg him back in a slow run race. He's been gelded since his last run and there is no reason why he couldn't go and win again now."
Dark Vader the grey son of Dark Angel made all the running when winning the Best Night Out At Dundalk Stadium Race scoring for trainer Joseph O'Brien and jockey Declan McDonogh.
He travelled like a dream all the way, ran on smoothly into the straight, he was pushed along 1 ½ furlongs out, he stayed on well asserting himself in the final furlong to go and win by 2 ¼ lengths.
Joseph’s racecourse debutant Pip’s Eagle ran an encouraging race back in 4th under Wayne Lordan.
Declan says “He quickens on that surface. He drops his body to the ground and really helps you as a rider. He’s a lovely horse to push out. Every time Ben on Power Ahead was on my boot my lad was loving it. I was drawing him along and my lad was enjoying that. I thought he put the race to bed quite well. He didn’t get the trip the last day but still ran a good race. He’s very effective over six and seven and it was a nice race picked by Joseph.”
Deilginis the 6-year-old daughter of Flemensfirth won on her third start over fences in the Best Odds Guaranteed at MansionBet Beginners Chase at Cork.
She started mid-division, JJ pushed her along before 4 out, She made headway on the outer early in the straight and led after 2 out, she was ridden approaching the last and kept on well run-in winning by three and three parts of a length.
Joseph said:- "She is a nice staying mare and loves soft ground. She is a funny one because she always hits a flat spot in her races, but she comes home well. It looked like she was maybe in trouble at the last one down the back, but JJ said her jumping kept her in it all the way, The conditions of the race were perfect - well I'd have put another half mile on it maybe, and the soft ground was a big help to her. She can go for a handicap chase up in trip next - she might be higher rated over fences than hurdles after that but probably not by much."