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Jonjo O'Neill

Born: 13 April 1952

Nationality: Irish

First Winner as Trainer: 1986

Cheltenham Festival Wins: 20

Notable Horses Trained: Legal Right, Mini Sensation, Intersky Falcon, Iris's Gift, Rhinestone Cowboy, Black Jack Ketchum, Exotic Dancer, Albertas Run, Butler's Cabin, Don't Push It, Synchronised

Career History

Jonjo O'Neill has become one of horse racing's legends as he went from being a top class jockey to become one of the best trainers of his generation.  A quality rider during the 1970's and 1980's O'Neill amassed 901 winners in his 16-year riding career and he partnered some of the greatest horses of all time.

His partnership with Dawn Run, who was the only horse to have won the Champion Hurdle and Cheltenham Gold Cup was his most notable one, but he also rode the great Sea Piegon to Champion Hurdle glory in 1980.

After quitting the saddle in 1986 he instantly took out a training licence and began to weave his magic on yet more equine stars.  Originally based at Penrith he gained his first notable success in 1989 with Vicario Bray in Haydock's Champion Hurdle trial.

Showing his versatility O'Neill even managed to train a winner at Royal Ascot as Gipsy Fiddler won the 1990 Windsor Castle Stakes, but it was to be national hunt horses he would become famous for.

A regular at the Cheltenham Festival, O'Neill trained his first winner at the March extravaganza in 1991 where Danny Connors won the Coral Golden Hurdle Final (now Pertemps Final).  It would be the start of a great record at the festival as he has now amassed 18 wins at the Prestbury Park four-day meeting.

Iris's Gift, ridden by Barry Geraghty, was an impressive winner of the World Hurdle in 2004, whilst O'Neill's training ability showed as he managed to win the Ryanair Chase in 2010 and again in 2011 with the classy Albertas Run.

At the turn of the century, O'Neill decided to leave his Penrith base and move to Jackdaws Castle, where he still trains out of today.  Following AP McCoy's split with Martin Pipe, he has since been signed up by O'Neill as stable jockey and the two of them bagged their biggest race success in the 2010 Grand National with Don't Push It as well as winning the Welsh National with Synchronised a year later and the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Having not completed the course in seven attempts as a jockey O'Neill had finally conquered the great race and etch his name in the history books in yet another Grade One race.

His relationship with McCoy is first class and being the trainer for multi-millionaire owner JP McManus has meant he still has some of the best horses around to work with and he still attempts to bag the big contests throughout the season.

Other Leading National Hunt Trainers

Paul Nicholls

Nicky Henderson

Willie Mullins

David Pipe


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