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  Tuesday, 12 June, 2001, 09:18 GMT 10:18 UK
O'Brien: The master craftsman
Aidan O'Brien (far right) is quick to congratulate Galileo
O'Brien (far right) is quick to congratulate Galileo
Derby-winning trainer Aidan O'Brien is one of the youngest men in his profession. But, according to BBC Sport's Lee McKenzie, the Irishman is already recognised as a master of his craft.

Aidan O'Brien has rapidly established himself as among the elite, with Galileo's Derby win being the latest chapter in his phenomenal success story.

Incredibly, he is just 31 and there is no knowing how many records he will break.

His career as a rider was successful but short-lived and he took up training racehorses for a living at the relatively young age of 23.

Imagine romps to victory in the Oaks
Imagine romps to victory in the Oaks
He could not have made a more impressive start, sending out two winners on his very first day and completing the season as Champion National Hunt trainer.

In 1994 O'Brien was presented with a golden chance to make a name for himself in the glitzy world of Flat racing.

He was asked to take over from the legendary Irish trainer Vincent O'Brien (no relation) at the world-famous Ballydoyle Stables in County Tipperary.

In the same year, he produced a combined total of 176 winners in all racing, Flat and National Hunt - a new Irish record until he broke it himself a year later.

Durability

Later in the decade he acquired a young hurdler called Istabraq and trained him to win three Champion Hurdles at Cheltenham.

O'Brien's handling of Istabraq has drawn wide praise - the horse has suffered a number of minor ailments and is not easy to train.

Nonetheless, he had an outstanding chance of becoming the first horse ever to win the Champion Hurdle four times until this year's National Hunt Festival was called off.

He should, however, be back next season.

In Flat racing, O'Brien had one of the stars of the 2000 season in Giant's Causeway, whose durability earned him the nickname "The Iron Horse".

Istabraq
Istabraq has few equals
But this year has seen the stable reach even greater heights, recording wins in the Irish 2000 Guineas with Black Minnaloushe and Irish 1000 Guineas with Imagine, who went on the land the Oaks at Epsom.

Galileo's victory in the Derby the following day has shown O'Brien's skills to an even bigger audience, the long-term aim this year being a crack at one of the Breeders' Cup races in the United States at the end of the European season.

Behind O'Brien's success, away from the public glare, lies the world-famous Coolmore Stud, a multi-million pound operation that provides him with a constant stream of potential equine talent.

His job is to turn them into champions.

Recent evidence suggests that he is not letting the side down.

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