The Vincent O’Brien National Stakes is Ireland’s biggest race for two year old colts and typically defines the annual champion for that division.

The National Stakes takes place every September and now forms part of the LONGINES Irish Champions Weekend.

The race is has been a Group One event, contested over seven furlongs at The Curragh, since 1985, but its history dates back to 1849. It has been won by many of the greatest names in Irish Turf history and in 2009 was renamed the Vincent O’Brien National Stakes, in memory of arguably the greatest racehorse trainer of all-time, who passed away earlier that year.

Dr. Vincent O’Brien won the National Stakes a record fifteen times in all, thanks to: Sir Ivor (1967), Roberto (1971), Chamozzle (1972), Cellini (1973), Sir Wimborne (1975), Monteverdi (1979), Storm Bird (1980), Glenstal (1982), El Gran Senor (1983), Law Society (1984), Tate Gallery (1985), Caerwent (1987), Classic Fame (1988), El Prado (1991), Fatherland (1992)

Since 1976, the National Stakes has seen nine winners go on to land the equivalent race in England, the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes, contested at Newmarket, over seven furlongs, every October.

El Gran Senor won the 1983 National Stakes before his 1984 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket
Image by www.cranhamphoto.com

Horses to pull off the double since 1976 are: Monteverdi (1979), Storm Bird (1980), El Gran Senor (1983), Dashing Blade (1989), Teofilo (2006), New Approach (2007), Dawn Approach (2012), Air Force Blue (2015) and Churchill (2016).

The race is often considered a portent to the following year’s Classics and top races both in England and Ireland. Among its most famous winners are: Gallinule, Derby winner Grand Parade, Santa Claus (who won the Irish 2,000 Guineas, English and Irish Derbies), Sir Ivor (winner of the English 2,000 Guineas and Derby and the Washington D.C. International), Roberto (English Derby and Benson & Hedges Gold Cup), Tap On Wood (2,000 Guineas), El Gran Senor (2,000 Guineas and Irish Derby), Desert King (Irish 2,000 Guineas and Irish Derby), King Of Kings (2,000 Guineas), Sinndar (English and Irish Derbies and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe), Hawk Wings (Eclipse Stakes and Lockinge Stakes), Refuse To Bend (2,000 Guineas and Eclipse Stakes), Dubawi (Irish 2,000 Guineas and Prix Jacques Le Marois), George Washington (2,000 Guineas and QEII Stakes), New Approach (Derby, Irish Champion Stakes, English Champion Stakes), Mastercraftsman (Irish 2,000 Guineas and St James’s Palace Stakes), Power (Irish 2,000 Guineas), Dawn Approach (2,000 Guineas and St James’s Palace Stakes), Gleneagles (English and Irish 2,000 Guineas and St James’s Palace Stakes) and Churchill (English and Irish 2,000 Guineas).

 

The Vincent O’Brien National Stakes winners:

1849: Chatterbox

1850: Third of May

1851: Barbarian

1852: The Deformed

1853: Knight of St George

1855: Citron

1857: Barbary

1858: Mount Zion

1859: Good Boy

1869: The Tyrconnell

1870: Maid of Athens

1871: Prodigal

1872: Queen of the Bees

1877: Inamorata

1880: Barcaldine

1886: Gallinule

1891: Red Prince

1895: Chit Chat

1897: Sirenia

1900: St Helena

1901: Bachelor’s Button

1906: Silver Fowl

1907: Americus Girl

1909: Kilbroney

1912: Royal Weaver

1914: Offaly

1915: Ayn Hali

1918: Grand Parade

1920: Soldennis

1923: Vesington Star

1927: Athford

1928: Soloptic

1929: Ballyferis

1933: Cariff

1944: Solid Pact

1947: Morning Wings

1948: Tribal Song

1949: First View

1950: Star Wire

1951: Blue Butterfly

1952: Sea Charger

1953: Calvero

1954: Panaslipper

1955: Black Patch

1956: El Minzah

1957: Talmud

1958: Babu

1959: His Story

1960: Paris Princess

1961: Mystery

1962: Partholon

1963: Santa Claus

1964: Prominer

1965: Reubens

1966: House Proud

1967: Sir Ivor

1968: Thataboy

1969: Decies

1970: King’s Company

1971: Roberto

1972: Chamozzle

1973: Cellini

1974: Reap the Wind

1975: Sir Wimborne

1976     Pampapaul      

1977     Diamonds Are Trump  

Tap On Wood landed the 1978 National Stakes before adding the 2000 Guineas the following year
Image by www.cranhamphoto.com

1978     Tap On Wood  

1979     Monteverdi      

1980     Storm Bird      

1981     Day Is Done     

1982     Glenstal          

1983     El Gran Senor 

1984     Law Society    

1985     Tate Gallery     

1986     Lockton           

1987     Caerwent         

1988     Classic Fame  

1989     Dashing Blade 

1990     Heart of Darkness        

1991     El Prado          

1992     Fatherland       

1993     Manntari          

1994     Definite Article

1995     Danehill Dancer           

1996     Desert King     

1997     King of Kings  

1998     Mus-If  

Sinndar was a National Stakes winner before landing the English and Irish Derbies in 2000
Image by www.healyracing.ie

1999     Sinndar                       

2000     Beckett

2001     Hawk Wing      

2002     Refuse to Bend

2003     One Cool Cat   

Dubawi won the 2004 National Stakes                                                                                                             Image reproduced with the kind permission of Darley

2004     Dubawi

George Washington wins the 2005 National Stakes
Image by www.healyracing.ie

2005     George Washington    

Teofilo beats Holy Roman Emperor in the 2006 National Stakes
Image by www.healyracing.ie

2006     Teofilo

New Approach won the 2007 National Stakes

2007     New Approach 

2008     Mastercraftsman          

2009     Kingsfort         

2010     Pathfork          

2011     Power 

2012     Dawn Approach           

2013     Toormore

Gleneagles won the National Stakes and added two Guineas wins the following year
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

    

2014     Gleneagles      

Airforce Blue lands the 2015 National Stakes
Image by Alain Barr

2015     Air Force Blue 

Churchill beats Mehmas in the National Stakes at the Curragh
Image by www.healyracing.ie

2016     Churchill      

Verbal Dexterity draws away from Beckford to win the National Stakes
Image by www.healyracing.ie

 2017 Verbal Dexterity