Reigning Irish champion Flat jockey Donnacha O’Brien on Sunday announced his retirement from the saddle and will now focus on a training career.

O’Brien, 21, son of Ballydoyle trainer Aidan, has won the last two Flat jockeys' championships in Ireland and rode ten top-level winners in a career that started in 2014.

His last Group 1 winner came on Qipco British Champions Day at Ascot aboard Magical in the Champion Stakes.

O’Brien, who announced his retirement on Twitter, said in a statement: “After thinking about things for a while I have decided to concentrate on training next year.

“Riding has been very good to me and I owe everything to the people around me. I want to give special thanks to the Magnier, Smith and Tabor families along with my own family for all their support.

“I look forward to training a small group of horses next year and will hopefully build from there.”

O'Brien rode his first Group 1 winner aboard Intricately – trained by his brother Joseph – in the Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh in September 2016.

Last year brought a first championship and Classic glory, landing the Qipco 2,000 Guineas on Saxon Warrior, Investec Oaks on Forever Together and Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby on Latrobe.

Those Classic victories were three of six Group 1 triumphs for O’Brien that year, as he finished the season with a flourish by winning the Juddmonte-sponsored Cheveley Park and Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket and Vertem Futurity Stakes at Doncaster.

O’Brien celebrated a second 2,000 Guineas success on Magna Grecia in his final year in the saddle and recorded the same amount of winners – 111 – in the Irish Flat season to lift a second title.

His final winner came at Naas aboard the Aidan O'Brien-trained Nobel Prize in a mile maiden on November 3, having rode a double at Chelmsford the previous evening.

Paddy Power wasted no time in pricing up O'Brien's training ambitions, offering 11-8 about training a Group winner in 2020, 12-1 for a Group 1 winner and 33-1 to saddle a Classic winner in Britain or Ireland next year.

courtesy of