The bookmakers are offering 5/2 about Aidan O’Brien breaking Bobby Frankel’s record of 25 Group 1/Grade 1 victories in one year which was set in 2003.
Across the world there’s been 183 G1’s run so far this year.
Aidan has won 14 of them giving him an overall strike rate of 8%.
There’s 125 G1’s left to be run this year, 40% of the overall total, so to do it he’ll have to up his strike rate to 10% to break the record.
In that context you’d say 5/2 is probably a skinny price but maybe it’s not too far off the mark either when you consider the brilliance of the man himself and the team behind him. When you consider the power of the Ballydoyle operation, the depth in quantity and more importantly the quality of the horses at his disposal, just the sheer size of the operation means it’s possible.
It’s not probable.
Let’s examine the chances in the context of the G1 contests left that he can challenge for.
Ireland will sign off it’s Group 1 season running the last 5 of it’s 12 G1’s over this Champions Weekend. England have 12 G1’s left, France another 12 with Germany providing a further 2 opportunities and Italy 1 more. That’s 32 G1’s left in Europe.
So if he were to do it running in Europe then the required strike rate would be 38%. Now that’s looking a lot tougher especially when you consider he’ll unlikely have runners in all the remaining races.
Ballydoyle had a team of 14 engaged at Chantilly this Sunday but have decided not to declare anything for either the Prix Vermeille or Prix Du Moulin, the two G1’s which are the centrepiece of a terrific card in France so maybe a third of these European opportunities can be ruled out. This pushes the required strike rate to 54%.
There are other opportunities across the globe.
In America there’s 43 G1’s to be run, 28 on dirt and 15 on turf including 6 at the Breeders Cup at Del Mar in November. In Australia there’s 29 and in Japan there’s 12. Canada has 5 and Hong Kong offer’s another 4 opportunities.
Realistically in the States it is only the Breeders Cup that will provide chances and conceivably Aidan could contest all 6 turf races plus the Breeders Cup Classic on Dirt. In Australia there’s a possibility of 3 if you include the The Cox Plate, The Melbourne Cup and Mackinnon Stakes. In Canada he could contest 4 and in Hong Kong in December chances are they would be no more than 2 opportunities.
When you add up the opportunities, you’re talking about 44/46 range that Aidan could possibly contest. 12 wins then will require a strike rate of 26%. 5/2 doesn’t look so attractive now.
It’s more likely now Bobby Frankel’s record will never now be broken.
To do so requires a level of dominance in a sport which at the top-level is ultra competitive. Aidan O’Brien is best placed to do it but even with the depth of Ballydoyle resources it’s still more impossible than possible.
It’s conceivable he could capture all 5 of the domestic G1’s on offer this weekend as he’ll likely have a favourites chance in all of them. If he did win them all it would bring his tally to 19 sending the bookmakers into overdrive to slash him to odds on to achieve the feat but he’s never done that before, won the last 5 G1’s in Ireland, that in itself is an outlandish feat.
So it can’t be done. Unless.
Unless they targeted Japan. Highland Reel, Seventh Heaven or both could take in the Tenno Sho (Autumn), The Queen Elizabeth Commemorative Cup, The Mile Championship and The Japan Cup, all on turf spaced over 4 weeks beginning the end of October. That’s makes the required strike rate 24%, still highly unlikely but wouldn’t it be something if Aidan was to release his genius out east.
He mightn’t break the record but it would be some achievement to win a Breeders Cup race and a Japan Cup this autumn.
Recommendation: Lay Aidan O’Brien to break Bobby Frankel’s Record.
PS. Paddy Power have just quoted 2/7 for AOB not to break the record.