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Jonjo O’Neill is a former national hunt jockey turned trainer. During his career as a jockey O’Neill won the Champion Jockey title twice, and partnered Dawn Run to her victory in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Today, O’Neill is recognised as a great trainer in his own right, and has developed a reputation as one of the finest trainers of hurdlers in national hunt racing.
Jonjo O’Neill ended his successful career as a national hunt jockey in 1990, retiring with 885 wins to his name, including victories in the Champion Hurdle and Cheltenham Gold Cup. After his retirement, O’Neill discovered he had cancer and battled with the disease for years, whilst simultaneously developing his training facilities.
O’Neill’s first decade as a trainer was only moderately successful. However, this was to change in the new millennium, as JP McManus, one of the most powerful racehorse owners in national hunt racing, signed O’Neill on as his first choice trainer and helped him relocate to the Jackdaws Castle training facilities in Gloucestershire.
After his move to Jackdaws Castle O’Neill began to enjoy a steady supply of talented racehorses from McManus. This led to a steady improvement in results, and O’Neill crossed the 100 wins in a season mark in 2001/2002, thereby becoming the first person to achieve this landmark as both a jockey and a trainer.
O’Neill soon began building his impressive record in Grade 1 hurdles’ races and won his first Triumph Hurdle in 2003. A year later, O’Neill won the Aintree Hurdle at the Grand National Meeting, and started a trend of victories in major hurdles races at the Grand National Meeting that would continue until 2007.
In 2008 O’Neill won his first major Cheltenham Festival chase, taking the Royal & SunAlliance Chase with Alberta’s Run, and he has since won the William Hill Trophy. In 2010 O’Neill achieved the biggest win of his carrer, winning the Grand National with Don’t Push It.
Jonjo O’Neill was born on the 13th of April 1952. O’Neill currently works and lives at Jackdaws Castle in Gloucestershire.
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