Aidan O'Brien is like the Pep Guardiola or Jurgen Klopp of horse racing, according to managing Editor of The Irish Field Leo Powell.
It is 25 years since O'Brien trained Desert King to the 200 Guineas stakes at the Curragh. The win was the first classic success that the soon to be legendary trainer had.
It came a year after Desert King had ran to the winner of the National Stakes, which was O'Brien's first Group.1 winner.
Since those humbler beginnings, O'Brien has gone on to be one of the most successful flat trainers in Ireland over the last 25 years.
With the 2000 Guineas taking place on Saturday, Powell joined Friday Night Racing to look back on the still-ongoing career of the great trainer.
O'Brien was not expected to be an immediate success when he began training horses. He came from a humble background, with his father Denis being a farmer and small-scale horse trainer in the townland of Killegney.
However, Powell did expect something from him, after he was trained by the great Jim Bolger.
"It definitely was a surprise," Powell said. "Bearing in mind that he had spent some of his time with Jim Bolger. So, he learnt from a man that had success on the flat.
"That academy has produced plenty of people who've been successful under both codes. I suppose you just learn an awful lot there."
The makings of a great trainer
One of the key aspects of O'Brien's character that has made him a success is his inquisitive nature, according to Powell.
"I think he is inquisitive," Powell said. "If you spend time with him, he'll ask you as many questions as you ask him. He's keen to know and has other interests.
"But having one-to-one conversations with him I get the impression that really it is all about [racing]. The attention to detail.
"I remember being with him in a Jeep and he spotted something in a two-year-old. The horse was probably 100 yards from us and he was able to spot something while having a conversation with me. Nothing is missed.
"The attention to detail is incredible at every level." It is not limited to the aspects of a horse, however.
"He knows every one of those horses," Powell said. "He know every one of the boys, girls, men and women who work there. They will have 50 horses going out, and he will know every horse and every rider.
"They report to him as they pass by what the horses have done. It really is quite a phenomenal thing to watch and see. It is really hard to understand or express it properly."
He is like Guardiola or Klopp
While he knows that the trainer has been gifted with the raw materials to be successful, Powell feels that O'Brien has taken the raw materials to become the success he has been.
He compared the trainer to the two managers that will be fighting to lift the Premier League on Sunday.
"Of course he has the material," Powell said. "But Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp have the best material too. They've then got to produce it on the field and on the race track. To do it at that level on a consistent basis is unimaginable.
"This is like Liverpool or Manchester City winning the Premier League every year for 20 years!"
In spite of all of his success, O'Brien has 'no ego', according to Powell.
"He deflects the success," Powell said. "That is part of the success story, that he has built a team of success around him."
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