We are delighted to bring you an interview with Fergal O’Brien(Yes the other O’Brien).. We chat about the building of the new yard, some of the yards stars and of course Cake!

Fergal O'Brien

How are things coming along with the new yard at Ravenswell Farm? And when is the move date?

Ravenswell is coming along very well and although we’re not fully in there yet we couldn’t be happier with the facilities.
Rupert and Nicki Lowe have been fantastic landlords by giving us everything we need to create a state of the art training complex.

What advantages will moving yards give the team and the horses?

The move will be beneficial in many ways. It’s our own space, a fantastic 4 furlong uphill gallop, furlong and half all weather schooling strip and we have 70 acres which to turn horses out every day. A 3 furlong round gallop and much more!!

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Ravenswell in progress

How many horses do you currently have in training?

We have about 65/70

The team landed 49 winners, is the target 50 this year or are you thinking bigger?

We were a bit disappointed with last year’s total as the two previous seasons yielded 60 win each!
The target as always will be to train every horse to fulfill their maximum potential and try give the owners a good time along the way.

Carrolls Milan progressed well last season, do you see her heading up in class soon or do you have bigger targets in Mind?

CM was a star last season and never ran a bad race. She had her first run at Perth in September and her last run at Perth in April, having always been in the winners enclosure.
She’s got a great group of owners so I’d love to see her win a nice race at Cheltenham some time.

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Carrolls Milan & Conor Brace

Liosduin Bhearna was not out the places last season in his 6 runs, what do you see as his ideal trip?

Bernie, as he’s known in the yard, was a great servant to his owners and a very good advert for our FOB Racing partnerships. He shows how affordable race horse ownership can be.
I have to mention how well the partnerships are run by my partner, Sally Randell. Sally sources the horses and when she’s found enough people we buy them.
Bernie was a little late coming in so no real plans yet but we’re very hopeful he’ll make up into a nice staying chaser in time.

Jarveys Plate landed the Ballymore Listed at Cheltenham last season, what are the plans for the season ahead?

Jarvey’s was very good last year except at the festival! I’m not sure why he disappointed but he never fired that day at all. I’m very fortunate that Jarvey’s is owned by my business partner, Chris Coley, although disappointed understands that’s racing. He’ll start off at Chepstow yesterday in a novice chase, making a winning chase debut!

Would you ever consider having a runner in the Cesarewitch?

Never say never!!

Which one of your horses surprised you the most last season?

A few did, Bennys Bridge won a very competitive 2 mile handicap at Cheltenham on very soft ground which I thought he wouldn’t enjoy but he loved it!!

You have a Racing Club, could you tell us a little about it & how folk could get involved? 

Our Racing Partnerships evolved from a Racing Club 3 years ago. We had 6 horses and a greyhound in the Club and we had a lot of fun and success but the Club didn’t work financially…
So we turned the Club into individual Racing Partnerships and sold a horse to each Partnership as we went along so they all use the same colours but each horse is owned by a different set of people.

We are now onto FOB9 which is a horse called ‘Project Mars’. He is a 7 year old gelding by the top Sire ‘Presenting’
We purchased him last summer and unfortunately he got a small Tendon injury before we could race him. He has had all the rehab needed and he has been cleared by the vets to go back into training and he is cantering now.
He has been placed in a bumper and been 2nd 3 times over hurdles so we have no doubt that he can win races and he is a real fun horse, perfect for a Racing Partnership!!!
We have a Weatherbys Bank account just for the partnership so all money goes into there and hopefully some prizemoney will go back into the account too!!

The Partnership is a 10 share Partnership. We have sold 6 shares.
A 10% share is £800+Vat (£960)
And from This month (October) the training fee is an ‘all in’ £200 per month… there are no hidden costs, the £200 covers everything.

We hope to aim him in a handicap hurdle race early to mid December.

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Paddy Brennan

You have a cracking team of Jockeys… 

Yes, we are very lucky with jockeys.
Gold Cup winning jockey, Paddy Brennan brings a lot of experience and knowledge with him. He’s very good at placing horses and his feed back after racing is invaluable.

Conor Brace had a fantastic season last year for a 17 year old, topped off by winning the Scottish Champion Hurdle for Nicky Henderson.

Alain Cawley had a very good season last year also. He mainly rides up north but is very reliable when we use him.

Since the summer, Max Kendrick has been riding out for us and he’s struck up a great partnership with Global Tour, already winning 5 races on him.

And last but not least we have our amateur, Liam Harrison. Liam’s had two rides for us and one winner.

Does humour help with team spirit or is it best to keep that separate from the serious side of racing?

You definitely need humour!!!! We’ve got a great group of people who all seem to get along MOST of the time.

Your social media account on Twitter is possibly the best on Twitter, who is the genius behind the account?

That’ll be Dr. Simon Gillson!! The Doc is fanatical about racing and is a part owner of Carroll’s Milan and he also owns Global Tour! He’s obviously very intelligent and sees racing from angles.
The yard would definitely be a lot worse off without the Doc!

We know you love your cake, so…. I have picked 3 of your horses.. If they were a cake, what cake would they be?

Heavenly Pleasure – Fruit Cake!!
Perfect Candiate – Victoria Sponge
Champagne Well – Mince Pie

And finally, can you give our readers one of your horses, not mentioned today to keep their eye out for this season?

Tricky one, I wouldn’t tip muck from a wheelbarrow but I think Imperial Elysian will be a fun horse to follow when he goes over fences.

We would like to thank Fergal for his time and we wish the team all the success for the future and the season ahead.

Interview by Rich Williams

Pictures – Ravenswell & Carrolls Milan (FOB Racing Twitter Account) & Paddy Brennan(PB Twitter Account)
Fergal O’Brien(File)

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