Osbornes take aim at Balmoral Handicap

Jamie and Saffie Osborne are aiming to emulate the O’Brien family when Raising Sand runs in the Balmoral Handicap on Qipco British Champions Day.

Both Joseph and Donnacha O’Brien rode winners trained by their father Aidan  on British racing’s showpiece day – and while their successes came in Group Ones rather than a handicap, the difference is Saffie Osborne has had fewer than 80 rides in her career to date.

A very accomplished Eventing rider, she has now set her heart on a career in racing – and with eight winners already under her belt from a truncated season, she has made a very bright start.

Saffie Osborne has been making a name for herself this season
Saffie Osborne has been making a name for herself this season (David Davies/PA)

Her father, of course, was one of the most gifted National Hunt riders of his generation – and since then has been no stranger to big winners on the Flat at Ascot, with Raising Sand himself adding two major prizes, the Challenge Cup in 2018 and the International Stakes last summer.

This will, however, be only Raising Sand’s second run of the season.

“It’s been an unfortunate year for him – and at his age, I don’t know how many more years we are going to have,” said Osborne snr.

“It’s either been too firm or too waterlogged!

“He might be eight but he still shows me at home he’s as good as ever.

“I wouldn’t worry about the lack of racing – he was ready for the race there a fortnight ago that was abandoned, and our worry then was whether running in both races might be a bit much. ‘Was there enough time between them?'”

With his daughter taking 7lb off the top weight in one of the most valuable handicaps of the season, does Osborne now think Raising Sand is well treated on Saturday?

“It depends what your view is of the 7lb. Is her lack of experience worth 7lb?She’s been doing all right so far,” was as far as he would praise his daughter – although many others would say she is doing a good deal better than that.

As for his stable stalwart, he added: “He’s got his set of circumstances that bring out his best, so all we can do is hope for a bit of luck.

“I’m happy that the horse is in the right place.”

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