Tom O'Brien joy at riding 1000th winner

Jockey Tom O'Brien
Image: Jockey Tom O'Brien

Tom O'Brien hit a career milestone at Worcester on Sunday afternoon when Head On became his 1,000th winner in Britain and Ireland.

The jump jockey was contesting the Royal Equestrian Bedding Crushed Pellet Bedding Handicap Chase aboard Ian Williams' gelding and was triumphant by a length and a half.

O'Brien's name will now be added to a list of only seven active jump jockeys in Britain and Ireland who have achieved the feat.

"I'm very grateful for all the support I've had since the start of my career," he said.

"People have shown me a lot of loyalty, from my family to my agent and my boss.

"Dave Roberts is my agent, Philip Hobbs is my boss and Ashby Underwriting are my sponsor, they've all been behind me since I started and have shown me great loyalty - thanks also to all of the other owners and trainers who have put me up along the way.

"I've had my eye on it for a while and it felt like it was never coming, it hasn't sunk in just yet.

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"It's definitely a good start, I'm really looking forward to the season ahead."

The 34-year-old rode his first winner aged 18 in 2004 and was champion amateur rider the following season, turning professional the subsequent year and taking the champion conditional title.

Much of his success has been linked with the Hobbs stable in Somerset, where he rode as second jockey to four-time champion Richard Johnson before his retirement earlier in the year.

The vacancy left by Johnson saw O'Brien become the chief rider for Hobbs' yard and resulted in his one of his most significant winners to date when he took the Grade One Liverpool Hurdle aboard Thyme Hill at Aintree in April.

O'Brien has also enjoyed two Welsh Grand National victories and was the rider on board when Dream Alliance took the race in 2009, a success that has since become the subject of a documentary and a film.

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